Waitematā District Health Board Māori Nurse of the Year Chloe Maeva didn't let a worldwide pandemic, motherhood, study or being pregnant get in the way of her work and commitment to Māori mental health.
Maeva was presented with a korowai for the award by the board today during a special ceremony where she was named the latest winner of the Te Kauae Raro Māori nursing and midwifery award.
The korowai is passed from winner to winner each year and is highly symbolic of the board's organisational values.
“It was very surreal to receive this award. I see it as an award for my whole team and the work we do together,” Maeva says.
Of Te Rarawa, Ngai Takato and Ngāti Kurī descent, Maeva says she knew she belonged in community-based healthcare from a young age. After initially pursuing physiotherapy, she was given the opportunity to study Māori mental health and has never looked back.
"It's seeing the positive outcomes for people in our community that keeps me going. It's the hope that they get once they're connected to the support systems we offer.”
Now partway through her masters of nursing, Maeva plans to become a nurse practitioner to widen the scope of what she can offer and achieve with tangata whai ora (service-users).
Learning te reo Māori for the past few years with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has also deepened her connection to her Māori heritage and given her the confidence to speak te reo daily with her team.
"I grew up with an awareness and knowledge of tikanga and my heritage but the thing that was missing for me was te reo. Everything was really solidified during those classes."
Maeva has always had a passion for sport and is the clinical lead and facilitator of Wāitemata DHB's award-winning Te Rau Kamehameha Sports and Tikanga Programme.
The programme uses a mixture of physical activity, social connection, and cultural education to help reconnect tangata whai ora with whānau, work and training.
"Coming into health has opened my eyes to the inequality that still exists for Māori across the whole sector. I see people come to our services who distrust the system and are disconnected from their culture. We're a unique team in that we offer cultural support and we see huge results from reconnecting what is often a complete loss of identity."
Maeva is a passionate advocate for Māori and works toward reducing inequities in health – particularly in the workforce.
She’s been recognised by her team as a role model to nurses entering the workforce, a support to her colleagues and an inspiration to tangata whai ora.
The DHB has applauded Maeva for her commitment, leadership and dedication to serving the people in the district.