Bursaries help grow Maori mental heath workforce

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More than 120 Maori students who have received bursaries for their mental health studies have been welcomed at two-day hui at Massey University.

“We are committed to improving mental health and addiction outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand," says Toni Gutschlag, Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction.

"We want to make sure that Maori can be supported by Maori, so we need to make sure we build the Māori workforce and encourage working in mental health.

“Maori are disproportionately affected by mental health and addiction issues in Aotearoa New Zealand, so we need to ensure Maori perspectives and experience are built into the mental health system – growing the Maori workforce is an important part of achieving that."

Funding for an additional 46 bursaries is available from this year for the Te Rau Puawai programme.

This means there will be 126 places available on the programme each year.

The funding for this programme is part of the Budget 19 investment into improving mental health and addiction outcomes.

Te Rau Puawai is a successful Maori mental health workforce development programme run by Massey University over the last 20 years.

With an average pass rate of 95 per cent, the programme has achieved academic success for its students, but more importantly has had a far reaching impact on supporting tangata whaiora (people seeking wellness) across Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The recipe for success of this programme is that it doesn’t just provide financial support. There is a team who also provide active student support, framed within a Maori context."

Professor Te Kani Kingi, Chair of the Te Rau Puawai Board, shares the same view.

“From the outside people might think the main reason for the programme’s success is the financial support, but over time we have realised that’s not the most important thing. It’s really the pastoral care that we are able to provide in a Maori way.”

The programme covers a wide variety of professionals from mental health nurses to clinical psychologists and social workers.

Study can be undertaken via distance learning, meaning it offers flexible learning opportunities for both recent school leavers and those wishing to enter a new field later in their working life.

Te Rau Puawai’s combination of bursaries and academic support within a kaupapa Maori framework was established by Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie, to address the shortfall of Māori professionals in the mental health and addiction sector.

“We acknowledge the work of Sir Mason; the success of the Te Rau Puawai programme in growing the Māori mental health and addiction workforce is a credit to his leadership."

Click here for more information about Te Rau Puawa.

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