New health scholarships launched for Pasifika students at Wintec 

Four new health scholarships for Pasifika learners at Wintec honour Leaupepe Elisapeta (Peta) Karalus

Well-known national and Waikato Pasifika leader Leaupepe Elisapeta (Peta) Karalus and Wintec Honorary Fellow has new Pasifika study scholarships from Wintec named in her honour.  

Wintec is proud to announce four new health study scholarships for Pasifika students, named after well-known national and Waikato Pasifika leader, Leaupepe Elisapeta (Peta) Karalus.  

Applications for the inaugural Leaupepe Elisapeta (Peta) Karalus Scholarships are open now to enable more opportunities for Pasifika people to pursue study at a degree level in the areas of health and social practice.  All tuition fees for the duration of the degree will be paid for and these scholarships will be ongoing, awarded annually, with an approximate value of $30,000 each year.   

The scholarships are named after Peta Karalus in recognition of her significant contribution and valued work in the Pasifika community.   

“I am deeply honoured by this and what this means for Pasifika peoples in our region, especially those who find access to health services challenging. Wintec’s generosity and commitment in providing such opportunities for Pasifika peoples must be specially acknowledged,” says Karalus. 

“There has always been, and still is, a serious lack of Pasifika peoples across all health and social practice occupations, which means that ultimately Pasifika people continue to have poor health outcomes. These scholarships will contribute immensely to increasing Pasifika representation in these areas. 

 “I envisage there will be a time in the future, if all goes well, Pacific healthcare providers, District Health Boards and other organisations will have the luxury of acquiring the size and mix of the workforce that could appropriately meet the needs of their Pacific communities.” 

Karalus is a well-known community figure and health professional, with a relentless passion for helping the Pasifika community. She established K'aute Pasifika, a Pasifika-focussed service to enable the health and wellbeing of Pasifika people in Hamilton and the wider Waikato region.  

She was also a former staff member and tutor at Wintec’s nursing school in the late 1990s. In 2006 Karalus was awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit at the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the Pacific Islands community. She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Wintec in 2019 for her significant contribution to health and education for the Pasifika community.   

Wintec Chief Executive David Christiansen says these new scholarships are part of our wider commitment to building more opportunities for current, and potential, Māori and Pasifika learners.  

“They will contribute to seeing more Pasifika in the health workforce and are great way to support students to come and engage in health-related training. 

“Naming these scholarships after Peta, who is very highly regarded in the Pasifika community, is a privilege and another way we can recognise her long-standing commitment to Pasifika health and association with Wintec. These scholarships will help Pasifika people for many years to come.”  

Wintec Director, Centre for Health and Social Practice, Dr Sharon Brownie says she’s excited by the opportunities the new Pasifika scholarships will provide for Pasifika students training in the fields of health and social practice.  

“We know that Pasifika are under-represented in our health workforce and these scholarships will go a long way in training and supporting more Pasifika students in areas such as nursing, social work, counselling, physiotherapy, and midwifery.”  

The first four Leaupepe Elisapeta (Peta) Karalus Scholarships will be awarded in late January next year, based on the successful applicants’ personal character, their desire to achieve degree-level study and involvement in cultural and community life. Applications are open now until Friday 22 January 2021.   

In addition to the new scholarships, Wintec is working with K’aute Pasifika on a Trust Waikato funded research project to ensure students learn industry-relevant skills in educational settings that reflect both “real world” practice context and the diversity of the population they work with.   

Wintec academic staff from exercise physiology, physiotherapy and nursing are working with key staff from a range of services at K’aute Pasifika to understand current service provision and gaps and expand student placement opportunities.  From this research the two organisations will develop a five-year expansion strategy.  

This week the Ministry of Health also announced a series of 2021 Pacific Health Scholarships available for students studying nursing, midwifery, allied health, medicine and dentistry.   

Find out more about applying for a  Leaupepe Elisapeta (Peta) Karalus Scholarship

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