Te Mana Hauora O Te Tairawhiti
17 October 2017
A programme designed to funnel Māori students into the health sector is off to a great start this year in the Tairāwhiti region.
Kia Ora Hauora was established by the Ministry of Health in 2008 and is run in other Midland areas. However, this is the first year the programme has taken place in Tairāwhiti.
Students can sign up to Kia Ora Hauora through their school from year nine onwards and are then managed by regional programme facilitator Mereana Egan.
“Once they are registered, we first look at the subjects they are taking and make sure they are the right ones. We also make sure they have the right support around them by keeping in touch with their teachers and careers advisors.”
While at secondary school the programme is an all-encompassing experience for students who gain exposure to possible health careers and first-hand sector experiences too.
“Once they reach year 12 they also have access to online resources like the current mock exams, video tutorials and practical activities that help with their studies,” says Mereana.
Exposure to different fields within health is a crucial part of the Kia Ora Hauora experience.
“Often a student’s view of health can be very narrow-minded. They tend to think doctor, nurse or maybe physiotherapist – so that exposure is key. For some of them, other roles within health are more achievable, or are better suited.”
Recently a Kia Ora Hauora event at Gisborne Hospital saw students from across the region come together for interactive question and answer sessions with current health students. Students got to talk to Occupational Therapists – for some this was a profession they had never heard of - Dietitians, Social Workers, Dentists, Pharmacists, Nurses and Doctors from the Inter-professional Education (IPE) Programme.
After secondary school, students are kept on the Kia Ora Hauora database and are supported from university, through to employment.
“Kia Ora Hauora is supposed to both promote and support career pathways in health,” says Mereana.
“This means we need to be able to see where a student has started and where they end up, so we can make sure they are achieving their goals.”
This November 20 student volunteers from Otago University and Auckland University of Technology are journeying to Tairāwhiti for an East coast tour.
“We are going to go to all of the coast schools starting from Te Araroa and Hicks Bay, all the way down to Tolaga Bay.
“The tour is going to include basic learning about different health fields as well as interactive activities like; how to take blood pressure, test for reflexes and basic neurology.”
For Māori looking into health who have left school, the programme is designed to cater to second chance learners too.