Fresh faces of Māori medical students in Hawke's Bay

By Aroha Treacher

Hawke's Bay DHB wants to see more Māori working in their local health sector, so they've recruited a fresh bunch of Māori medical students to learn the ropes, under the Tuakana Teina internship.

“We are very fortunate to be able to be here in Ngāti Kahungunu to understand the various issues here and find out what the health gaps are,” says Selwyn Te Paa, who is currently studying at Otago University.

Almost every intern is of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, the internship will give them real-world experience in Māori Health working alongside local health professionals.

“They have lots on the go, some have four projects each, but the main thing is that they are working together and being supported from the Māori Health team here at the Hawke's Bay DHB,” says Heneriata Paringatai, Turuki Workforce Advisor Māori Health, HBDHB.

“I'm quite interested in Mental Health, especially here in Hawke's Bay where we've got such a high rate of suicide and a lot of that is preventable,” Winnie-Mae Read-Eden, Auckland University student.

The initiative is lead by the Māori Health team at the Hawke's Bay DHB, with the aim of supporting more Māori and reo speaking health workers.

“Our families really want to see and hear the language being used, which will help to lift the health outcomes of not only individuals but the overall well being of Te Matau a Māui,” says Heneriata Paringatai, Turuki Workforce Advisor, Māori Health, DHB.

The hope is that the internship will attract some of the students back to the region once they're qualified.