Nurses blossoming through leadership programme

1 September 2013

Margareth Broodkorn shares some inspiring stories of how the Ngā Manukura ō Āpōpō programme is building a new generation of much-needed Māori nursing and midwifery leaders.

Recent workforce data indicates that while the Māori health workforce has improved in some health professions, overall, there is still a significant under-representation of Māori.

The proportion of Māori registered nurses doubled from 1991 to 2001 to six per cent. By 2009, there were 2803 active Māori nurses in the health workforce. 2011 data notes 3,487 nurses who identify as Māori (7.1 per cent), of which seven nurse practitioners are Māori (7.8 per cent).

It is well documented that clinical education and leadership make a difference in health care provision. This is of paramount importance to the Māori workforce if we are to make a difference to Māori health disparities.

A national Māori nursing and midwifery workforce programme, Ngā Manukura ō Āpōpō, aims to make a difference by supporting the retention, recruitment, and continuous development of Māori nurses and midwives. The programme, known as NMoA for short, commenced in 2010 and focuses on three key work streams: clinical leadership, professional development, and recruitment and profile-raising.

NMoA, as well as Kia Ora Hauora, earlier this year profiled two inspirational new graduate nurses from Te Tai Tokerau. Cheryl Turner and her daughter Karen Turner were driven by a desire to care for others and successfully graduated as registered nurses from NorthTec in April.

Whānau inspiring success

Education is key for this family.

“I have two daughters, and I told them from a young age they were going to university and to university they went,” shares Cheryl Turner. “Karen has a diploma and two degrees, and her younger sister Denise also has a diploma and a degree.”

“I am the first of my brothers and sisters to earn a degree and my mother was able to take part in our graduation ceremony which was extra special. After our graduation, we went for a meal. We were all seated around the table when my 5-year-old grandson said, ‘I can’t wait for my graduation’.”

Family is also important to France Badham, a Northland public health nurse who credits her successful journey through nursing, a journey of hardship and self-doubt, to her children.

“They are the people who have supported me most,” says France. Having left school with no formal qualifications France completed adult education classes at a local high school, bridging from the EN to the RN diploma then to a degree qualification.

While France has had to work hard on her confidence both clinically and culturally, she has recently completed the Ngā Manukura ō Āpōpō leadership course and the Poutama NMoA initiative that is being piloted in Northland and Rotorua.

The Poutama initiative supports Māori registered nurses, over a 12-month period, to become workplace assessors and mentors.

Completing the NMoA leadership course has added to France’s confidence and encouraged her to embark on postgraduate study. France is now inspiring others by achieving nothing less than As and Bs on her postgraduate papers.

Leadership course boost confidence

Since the first cohort in 2010, 114 participants have completed the Ngā Manukura ō Āpōpō Clinical Leadership programme. Each cohort complete four marae-based wānanga. The sixth cohort was recently completed in Christchurch with a further two cohorts to be delivered by the end of December 2014.

Phyllis Savage, a public health nurse in Wellington, was part of the sixth cohort. She says she can finish her nursing career when she retires knowing the sector is in good hands because Māori leaders are being cultured through Ngā Manukura ō Apōpō.

“I’m very confident that Māori are looking pretty good at the moment. If we continue along that vein and support each other and Ngā Manukura ō Āpōpō gets the funding to be able to increase that network of leaders, that’s about having the autonomy to do what needs to be done”.

Judith Hapi was part of the fourth cohort that was delivered in Whangarei, and she hasn’t looked back. Since completing the NMoA leadership programme, Hapi presented at a national Care Capacity Demand Management forum in late 2012 – a first for someone who lacked confidence with public presentations.

Six months on, Hapi has also achieved another milestone: being appointed to the associate clinical nurse manager role in the local paediatric ward. Judith credits her accomplishments over the last year to the NMoA leadership course.

For further information about the Ngā Manukura ō Āpōpō, visit

Margareth Broodkoorn is the sponsor of the Ngā Manukura ō Āpōpō programme, a board member of the College of Nurses, and Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Northland District Health Board.