Investing in our Pacific health workforce

Health Pacific Peoples
  • 220 Pacific health students awarded scholarships for tertiary study
  • Pacific-trained nurses supported through new alternative pathway

The Chris Hipkins Government is providing targeted measures to support our Pacific health workforce, Associate Health Minister Barbara Edmonds says.

“Growing and developing our Pacific health workforce is key to improving Pacific health outcomes in Aotearoa,” Barbara Edmonds said.

“Through the Health Workforce plan released this week, we’re laying the foundation for creating training opportunities, new pathways and providing additional support for Pacific peoples.

“We need to support a health workforce that reflects our diverse communities. Having more of our Pacific community in the health sector will improve our ability to address barriers to care, build stronger relationships with services and improve outcomes for our families.

“To achieve this, we’re investing over $1.5 million into Pacific students through the annual Te Whatu Ora Pacific Health Scholarship programme.

“220 tertiary scholarships have been awarded to students studying health and disability-related courses including medicine, dentistry, nursing, midwifery, and allied health. The scholarship funds contribute directly to students’ tuition fees. 

“This scholarship programme is one way to support a positive change in our Pacific communities. Since 2019 we’ve been proud to award scholarships to more than 1,000 students to support their careers in our health workforce,” Barbara Edmonds said.

The Government is also funding 35 students to undertake a new Graduate Diploma programme in Pacific Nursing at Te Pūkenga, Whitireia.

The tertiary course offers an alternative pathway for nurses trained in the Pacific to apply for New Zealand nursing registration and practising certificate so they can work here in Aotearoa. Student’s fees and course-related costs will be covered for the duration of the programme.

“Supporting this programme is an important step towards building a more diverse and sustainable pathway into New Zealand’s workforce for Pacific trained nurses,” Barbara Edmonds said.

“Having more Pacific nurses in our communities, particularly those who innately understand Pacific culture and have indigenous language skills, will help to better meet and respond to health needs.

“This new pathway can be completed in 18 months, allowing us to increase our indigenous Pacific nursing workforce faster than we ever have before.

“We know much of the work lies ahead of us. However, through the Health Workforce plan and our targeted initiatives, we’re providing an opportunity for change that will benefit future generations of Pacific peoples,” Barbara Edmonds said.