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Otago Polytechnic welcomes the announcement of a new Government initiative to support the success of Māori and Pasifika midwifery students/tauira and increase the number of midwives in our Māori and Pacific communities.

Te Ara ō Hine - Tapu Ora has been developed by Māori and Pasifika midwifery educators, tauira, new graduates and stakeholders from the Schools of Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington, Ara Institute of Canterbury (Ara) and Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec).

AUT holds the contract with the Ministry of Health and will have a Memorandum of Understanding with each of the four other education providers.

The Ministry has announced $6 million in funding over the next four years for the recruitment and appointments of Māori and Pasifika liaison staff at each institution to recruit Māori and Pasifika tauira into undergraduate midwifery programmes and to support tauira once in midwifery programmes providing tauira with wrap-around care including pastoral academic and financial support. Te Ara ō Hine -Tapu Ora also includes financial support for tauira midwifery to attend nationwide hui and fono.

Christine Griffiths, Head of Otago Polytechnic’s School of Midwifery: Te Kura Atawhai kā Kaiakopono te Hākuitaka, says Te Ara ō Hine - Tapu Ora will help address the serious workforce shortage of Māori and Pasifika midwives, as well as midwifery educators, academics and researchers in Aotearoa. Importantly it will also enhance the maternity care Māori and Pasifika whanau receive.

Less than 10% of midwives identify Māori as their first, second, or third ethnicity and less than 3% as Pasifika. Yet the population of women giving birth is 20% Māori and 10% Pasifika (rising to 27% in South Auckland).

“This shortage creates subsequent challenges in terms of appropriate and equitable service provision for Māori and Pasifika whanau, who are at the highest risk of serious adverse maternity outcomes,” Christine says.

“Recruitment of Māori and Pasifika tauira midwifery is considered one of the most important strategies in addressing these inequities.”

“To meet the needs of women and whānau and have a workforce that is reflective of the needs of the population, we need to increase the number of Māori graduates by 203% and Pasifika graduates 330% nationally annually over the next five years.”

Otago Polytechnic has a flexible delivery model, which allows students to fit study around other demands such as whanau. Students/tauira are grouped into “satellites” based on where they live.

“Currently, we have satellites in Wellington (covering tauira in Kapiti, Porirua, Wellington City, Hutt City and the Wairarapa), Whanganui, Palmerston North, Dunedin, Southland and Central Otago,” Christine explains.

“Our programme is a combination of face-to-face weekly akonga with local kaiako, working with midwives in practice in hospitals and the community, online tutorials, Intensive course blocks and working through some course content online. This enables tauira to remain in their own communities across the lower North Island and lower South Island for the majority of their programme while they study.

“Students stay in their community, helping build their communities during study, and often remain in their community to work as midwives.” 

Read more about Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic

Published on 1 Apr 2021

Orderdate: 1 Apr 2021
Expiry: 31 Aug 2021