Te Aka Whai Ora is investing $1.7 million in the Pūhoro STEMM Academy to develop a bespoke Health Career Pathway that supports hundreds of rangatahi Māori into careers in STEMM - science, technology, engineering, mathematics and mātauranga.

Launched in 2016, the Pūhoro STEMM Academy seeks to improve rangatahi engagement and achievement in preparation for university study and eventually the workforce. It is 'by Māori, for Māori', and with Māori kaupapa, which was developed to encourage Māori participation and interest in science and technology industries.

Jade Sewell, Maiaka Tau Piringa, Deputy Chief Executive - Service Development for Te Aka Whai Ora says the new Health Career Pathway will result in a pipeline of rangatahi who will become part of the future Māori health workforce.

“We know that a STEMM workforce is required for an innovation-focused future society, one in which Māori are not just contributors, but lead the way.

“In line with the recently released Health Workforce Plan, Te Aka Whai Ora is setting up the workforce pipelines needed to grow new kaimahi by ensuring Māori have a clear pathway into health.”

The work of Pūhoro is grounded in mātauranga Māori and has an emphasis on students connecting to, and expressing, their culture.

“It recognises our unique position here in Aotearoa, where we have access to two knowledge systems: mātauranga Māori and Western science,” says Jade.

“As well as supporting rangatahi Māori into STEMM careers, the Health Career Pathway will guide them to connect to their tuakiri or identity and express their worldview.”

Kemp Reweti, Manahautū CE - Pūhoro Charitable Trust, says: “Pūhoro is absolutely thrilled that through this investment we can focalise rangatahi towards a pathway that fosters their aspirations in the health sciences and health careers, and provide necessary support during crucial transition points along the education and experience continuum into the health workforce.”

Pūhoro works with 2,000 rangatahi in seven regions and 60 participating schools.

The Health Careers Pathway initiative began in July 2023. Since then, eight health programmes across six regional wānanga, with a total of 22 sessions, have been delivered.