About 150 nurses gathered at the National Māori Nurses’ Hui in Rotorua to connect and reflect on their collective kaupapa to achieve equitable outcomes for whānau.  

The inaugural hui, run by Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori o Aotearoa National Council of Māori Nurses at Tangatarua Marae in Rotorua, was sponsored by Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, alongside Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections, Te Puni Kokiri, Kia Ora Hauora, Te Puia and Rākai Jade.   

Attendees included mātanga tāpuhi nurse practitioners, nurse kairangahau researchers, and nurse leaders and educators, from across Aotearoa.  

As Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori embarks on its fifth decade, the hui was an opportunity to celebrate Māori nurses and nursing, how far nursing has come during this period, and to remember and honour the nursing pioneers who paved the way and persisted in making a difference for the health and wellbeing of whānau.   

The theme was "Kia tau hā te mauri” - to settle the self within the spaces we occupy. 

Chief Nursing Officer at Te Aka Whai Ora, Nadine Gray (Te Whakatōhea), who was a guest speaker at the hui, says it was an inspiring event. 

“From frontline kaimahi to educators and researchers, we all came together to celebrate being Māori nurses, the collective kaupapa of our work, our ‘why’, and our vision for now and the future. Coming together to wānanga was a rongoā for each of us.  

“The vision for Māori nurses is about strengthening our reo me ōna tikanga language and cultural practices, not only as individuals and as health practitioners but within our own whānau, hapū and iwi, because that is what nourishes us as people and when we are caring for others. 

“We also talked about the importance of being led by the voices of whānau - what they are telling us matters the most when we are providing care.” 

Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori o Aotearoa was established in 1983 to increase the number of Māori entering the nursing profession, and to meet the need for Māori nurses to play a role in the delivery of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, including education.  

It aims to promote whānau ora, ensure that the values of Māori nurses are practised, and maintain and monitor culturally safe nursing practices, ethics, and standards. It also promotes traditional healing in nursing and recruitment and retention of Māori in healthcare.