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Bursaries grow our Maori mental health workforce - Ministry of Health

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Over 120 Mâori students who have received bursaries for their mental health studies have been welcomed at two-day hui at Massey University in Auckland today.

"We are committed to improving mental health and addiction outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand. We want to make sure that Mâori can be supported by Mâori, so we need to make sure we build the Mâori workforce and encourage working in mental health," said Toni Gutschlag, Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction.

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

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 Mâori 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 Mâori context," said Ms Gutschlag.

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 Mâori 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 Mâori framework was established by Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie, to address the shortfall of Mâori 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 Mâori mental health and addiction workforce is a credit to his leadership," said Ms Gutschlag.

For more information about Te Rau Puawai visit: https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/Mâori/study/Mâori_research/te-rau-puawai/te-rau-puawai_home.cfm

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