Health Minister David Clark is pleased to celebrate the Otago Project partnership between the Ministry of Health and the University of Otago which is significantly increasing the number of Māori graduates in the health sciences and the workforce.
"Today I was privileged to attend Te Heika Pounamu, the University of Otago's pre-graduation celebration for Māori health science graduands, and to share this wonderful occasion with these tauira and their whānau." David Clark said.
"This year's cohort of Māori health science graduands is the largest ever at the University, which makes today's celebrations particularly noteworthy. In all, 76 Māori will graduate tomorrow in a diverse range of health disciplines."When the Otago Project began in 2009, there were 131 Māori health profession students across all programmes.
Today there are almost 350. Within the University of Otago's health programmes, the proportion of health profession students who are Māori has risen from 5% to 13%. This is great progress but clearly, there is still more work to do.
"Improving equity in health is a key priority for the Government and to make health truly equitable, it's essential we have a workforce representative of the population."However, Māori has historically been under-represented in our health workforce. This is not equitable and it's not acceptable.
"The Project is culturally responsive and empowers Māori students throughout their studies from 'inspiration to graduation', inspiring school-leavers to pursue careers in health and supporting students throughout their university studies.
"I congratulate these emerging health professionals for their commitment and success," David Clark said.
(With Inputs from New Zealand Government Press Release)