Health Workforce Plan creates new training opportunities and support for Māori kaimahi in healthcare

The release of a national Health Workforce Plan today is an exciting step towards mobilising growth within our Māori workforce and ensuring Māori have a clear pathway into health mahi.

“It is widely recognised that there has been a lack of investment in the development of the Māori health workforce, but the Health Workforce Plan released today has a vision that is achievable with the right investment.

“It is important that we focus on building a workforce representative of Aotearoa. A sustainable workforce where Māori can see themselves in our workforce. Māori are significantly underrepresented in our health workforce, which leads to barriers in Māori accessing care, which is culturally safe and responsive”, Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare said.

A key feature of the Plan focuses on growing pathways for Māori in health. This includes support for Māori students to choose hauora pathways and see them through to completion. This involves growing programmes to increase Māori participation in secondary school science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and Mātauranga Māori subjects, supporting more Māori tertiary students and supporting growth in training roles.

“We know Māori students have higher rates of attrition in training than non-Māori, non-Pacific students – and one of the reasons for this is financial hardship meaning they have to leave programmes late in training. Training in health can be a full-time affair, particularly in later years; it asks a lot of students and their whānau. It’s a huge waste of talent and investment for New Zealand if these students leave – so this plan will expand access to hardship support to help those students stay in training through to completion.

“The Plan will also scale and fund Māori access to earn-as-you-learn and modular training – because the evidence tells us that earn-as-you-learn pathways where you can work and study at the same time are more accessible and open up health careers to new groups of students – like older adults who need to work while they study to support their whanau.

“We have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that when iwi, hauora providers and other Māori organisations are given the opportunity and resources to develop their own solutions, they mobilise quickly, reach deep into their communities and achieve effective results”, Peeni Henare said.

Another key focus of the Plan is expanding access to clinical coaches for our Māori workforce so that they have support from Māori leaders and clinicians to be able to thrive when they’re learning the ropes.

Notes for editors:

  • Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora have developed a Health Workforce Plan 2023/24 outlining the current challenges facing New Zealand’s health workforce, and the

opportunities to address them now and in the future.

The Health Workforce Plan is available on Te Whatu Ora’s website []