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Better health outcomes for Māori start with a culturally aware and responsive workforce

Wintec's new Physiotherapy degree curriculum supports increased numbers of Māori and Pasifika students to enter the programme and become physiotherapists in their communities.

Creating educational programmes that ensure all graduates possess the knowledge and skills expected to engage effectively with whānau and Māori communities, is an important step towards reducing barriers and inequities for Māori in the health system.  

Wintec’s Centre for Health and Social Practice has now embedded introductory te reo Māori and learning relating to tikanga Māori or Māori cultural practises and principles through all of its programmes.   

Wintec Director, Centre for Health and Social Practice, Dr Angela Beaton says qualifications that are fit for purpose for the bicultural context of Aotearoa, are crucial in developing practitioners who can work effectively with whānau, and help to eliminate the inequities for Māori in the health system and barriers to access. 

One example is ensuring non-Māori graduates are equipped to pronounce Māori names accurately and have an understanding of tikanga Māori and applications to practice. 

“Our staff and students are enthusiastic about taking this learning and considering how this knowledge may be applied in practice. It is part of our role as educators to graduate health and social care professionals who meet the needs of our communities to provide effective, culturally responsive care.” 

Essential to creating this change, Allanah Ashwell, Pūkenga Reo for the Centre for Health and Social Practice has worked closely with Māori students, staff and industry partners, who have all provided valuable input to support curriculum changes within the Centre.  

Wintec staff are also being supported to build capability in te reo and tikanga Māori, to increase confidence and skills in teaching and learning in a bicultural context and with Māori learners. This support is offered through the professional development short course, Te Tauihu. At the end of 2018, 125 Wintec staff had completed the programme. 

Wintec’s Te Kōpū Mania o Kirikiriroa Marae and Wintec’s Māori Achievement team are central to the success of the staff Te Tauihu programme and the goal to continuously improve learner success at Wintec. 

Image: Wintec Pūkenga Reo, Centre for Health and Social Practice Allanah Ashwell, Wintec Kaumātua Tame Pokaia and Maungarongo Tito from Puna Waiora, Waikato District Health Board at the recent launch for Wintec’s Physiotherapy School. The new Physiotherapy degree curriculum supports increased numbers of Māori and Pasifika students to enter the programme and become physiotherapists in their communities. 

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