New initiative to support Māori and Pasifika midwifery students

The Wellington Faculty of Health—Te Wāhanga Tātai Hauora is proud to be part of a new $6 million government initiative aimed at increasing the number of midwives in our Māori and Pacific communities.

A group of people at a launch event
Wellington Faculty of Health's Kathy Holloway (centre) and Robyn Maude (right) at the launch of Te Ara ō Hine - Tapu Ora

Te Ara ō Hine for Māori and Tapu Ora for Pasifika will be developed by Māori and Pacific midwifery educators, students, new graduates and stakeholders from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Otago Polytechnic, Ara Institute of Canterbury (Ara) and Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec).

Acting Dean of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Health, Associate Professor Kathy Holloway, says this is a critical project to address a shortage of Māori and Pasifika midwives and create a more representative midwifery workforce for Aotearoa New Zealand.

‘’This is a wonderful opportunity for us to support our Māori and Pasifika students to succeed in their study and on into enriching and important careers, and to collaborate nationwide on something so important for our communities.’’

Less than 10 per cent of midwives identify Māori as their first, second, or third ethnicity and less than 3 per cent as Pasifika. Yet the population of women giving birth is 20 per cent Māori and 10 per cent Pasifika (rising to 27 per cent in South Auckland).

The Ministry has provided $6 million in funding over the next four years for a liaison person at each institution to provide wrap around care, academic support and to actively recruit Māori and Pasifika. There will also be a discretionary hardship fund for students in need, and support to attend nationwide hui and fono for networking. An additional $370,000, which was contributed in 2019 for Pacific midwifery and nursing undergraduate support, will go towards this initiative.

Te Ara ō Hine - Tapu Ora aligns with Whakamaua, the Māori Health Action Plan and Ola Manuia, the Pacific Health and Wellbeing 2020 – 2025 Action Plan. It was also one of the actions agreed to in the Midwifery Workforce Accord in 2019, which was to better support midwives in training, particularly Māori and Pacific.