close up of group of people sitting in circle

About us

He hapori rapu i te taumata o te mātauranga, me te rangahau. A community of inter-professional learning and research.

If you are committed to improving people’s lives and a vocation where you can make a difference, the opportunities offered by the Centre for Health and Social Practice are endless. As part of this centre, you will be part of a community that is dedicated to social care, health, well-being and protection.

The programmes we offer lead to hands-on careers and our teaching reflects this. You will have access to real-world simulated learning and the latest technology, with opportunities for interprofessional education to learn from other professions and improve all-round care. Our experienced and registered tutors genuinely care about your success and will guide you on your way.

We know the needs of our stakeholders are always changing, so we deliver fit-for-purpose programmes that are responsive to changes in the health and social practice sectors. We value inclusion, diversity, and the achievement of potential in all of our staff and students. We are committed to social justice, and our treaty partnership between Tangata Whenua and Tauiwi underpins everything we do.

Study with us

Now is the time to turn your passion for people into a career.

In the world of health and social practice you will be challenged, inspired, and rewarded – sometimes all at once. We will give you the skills and knowledge to change the world. Be the graduate everyone is looking for.


Click on the images below to see a larger version.

Postgraduate nursing

Health and social practice pathway diagram

Postgraduate nursing

Postgraduate nursing pathway diagram
Please check the entry criteria for each programme to see which course is the best level for you to begin with. The entry criteria information can be found on each of the programme pages here online. You can also contact us directly to discuss the appropriate level for you at

Subject areas



Postgraduate and master's for health and social practice

Short courses/professional programmes

Our facilities

The Centre for Health and Social Practice facilities are designed for students to get the most out of their learning. The latest technology is made available to put theoretical knowledge into practice. Students can expect environments such as a simulated ward with computerised patient models who assume real health issues. We value diversity and inclusion; facilities are designed to encourage interprofessional learning between health and social care, with opportunities for interaction between staff and students.

Get involved

Be part of our community and see how we can work together.

The Centre for Health and Social Practice maintains close relationships with the industry and professional bodies that graduates register with. Our staff are experienced in their fields and are continuously active in health and social practice research. Our students are taught with a focus on the practical elements of healthcare and are encouraged to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world learning environments. Each year students will gain credit for undertaking placements, internships, or volunteer work in their field. 


Our teaching approach is focused on the practical side of learning and we understand the benefits of real-world work environments for our students’ learning. Students in the Centre for Health and Social Practice spend time across their programmes in work placements for credit. The amount of time spent on placement varies according to qualification and year; first year students will spend approximately a quarter of the year doing work placement while third year students will spend most of their time on placement.


Flying high as an ICU nurse

Barry Somerset traded his Navy uniform for hospital scrubs

When Barry Somerset traded his Navy uniform for hospital scrubs, he thought his days of overseas travel might be numbered. But since taking up Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nursing, he has flown to the United States, Japan, Fiji and Australia to bring critically ill New Zealanders home.

He also helps transfer patients via helicopter and plane to hospitals throughout New Zealand from Hawke’s Bay Hospital where he is an Associate Clinical Nurse Manager in ICU.

“Transferring patients to and from overseas and within New Zealand is a varied and challenging job. It can be very stressful and difficult, but is also interesting and very rewarding,” he says.

“When we transfer a patient within New Zealand I have to assess the patient, make a plan and organise the equipment needed for the transport such as a monitor and ventilator, as well as the necessary medication to maintain the patient’s condition.

“When we retrieve a patient from overseas, we are flying with an unstable ventilated patient whose condition can change. This heightens stress levels because the only equipment available is what’s on the plane and if it runs out, you’re in trouble. You have to forward think about what could go wrong during the flight and prepare for the worst, however thankfully I haven’t yet been in that scenario.

“Getting the patient safely to the other end of the journey is immensely satisfying and keeps me going back for more.”

In his current role, Somerset manages 12 nursing and support staff and day-to-day staffing duties, allocates staff to patients, troubleshoots patient and technology issues, helps care for patients, looks after admissions and discharges, undertakes office administration and staff performance reviews, and attends quality meetings. He also teaches basic skill courses to junior and senior nurses.

“I enjoy the variety I get from nursing. It can be a difficult job and there are distressing aspects to the job but the best part is seeing patients’ health improve and getting them out of ICU onto the general ward.”

Somerset grew up in Whangarei before joining the Navy as a medic – a role he enjoyed for five years.

Initially he was based in the Navy Hospital in Devonport, looking after patients in the surgical and medical wards.

His first overseas deployment was as a medic on board the HMNZS Monawai to the Pacific Islands where the ship undertook hydrographic mapping of the seabed, following a storm and an unplanned search and rescue operation.

He then worked as a medic at Linton Army Camp for three months before being deployed to the North Arabian Gulf on board HMNZS Wellington.

“Our role was to stop contraband being smuggled into and out of Iraq. I was responsible (under supervision and guidance from a senior medic) for the health welfare of the crew, vaccinations, health and safety, general ailments of the crew, as well as ensuring the appropriate evacuation of serious ill patients to more suitable medical care. I also had the opportunity to be part of the internal security force, to protect the ship from intrusion threats, such as pirates and other, potential assailants.”

Somerset left the Navy and relocated to Napier and where he worked as a painter for ten years. With overseas travel still beckoning, he moved to the UK for the traditional Kiwi overseas experience and then back to New Zealand before deciding to study a Bachelor of Nursing at Wintec in 2004.

“My favourite aspect of studying at Wintec was the primary healthcare pathway. I undertook clinical placements in Whitianga which was fantastic. I learnt how different agencies work in the community and had my first experience working in ICU which I loved.”

“As an ICU nurse you have to be a jack of all trades and be good at all of them. Every day is a challenge.”

After graduating, he began work as a nurse in Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s graduate programme, in its ICU unit, where he met his partner Bronwyn, who is also an ICU nurse.

After ten years as a staff nurse, Somerset was promoted to Associate Clinical Nurse Manager, a role he has held for the last three years.

As a male working in a female-dominated profession, he says he regularly faces old-fashioned gender stereotypes.

“It doesn’t bother me. When you’re at work, you’re a nurse first and a man or woman second.”

As well as juggling shift work – which he says you never get used to – life is busy with three children and a 15-acre lifestyle block.

Find out more about studying nursing at Wintec.

This year, 2020 is the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. This story is part of a series where nurses and midwives who have graduated from or worked with Wintec tell their stories.

Read more:
A passion for Maori health sees study mates become workmates
Midwife says New Zealand has the best training in the world
Experience is the best teacher for this nurse educator

Year of the Nurse and the Midwife 2020


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