This year, 51 students were celebrated for graduating with specialist Postgraduate and Masters qualifications in Pacific health as part of a unique partnership between Pacific Perspectives, an independent provider of policy, research and workforce development programmes, and Whitireia.
The Aniva programme has been running for 12 years and has awarded over 316 Postgraduate and Masters qualifications to Pacific nurses and midwives - with another 47 students enrolled this year.
The graduation celebration event was hosted by Pacific Perspectives with the support from the Pacific section of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), and sponsored by the Pasifika Medical Association Group.
The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, was in attendance as the guest of honour and keynote speaker.
The dinner and graduation celebration was attended by over 230 people, including Mark Oldershaw, Tumu Whenua Executive Director at Te Pūkenga; CEO of Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, Fepulea’i Margie Apa; Secretary for Pacific Peoples and Chief Executive of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone; MPs Hon Aupito William Sio and Hon Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki and Pacific nursing leaders Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann, Dr Margaret Southwick, Leaupepe Peta Karalus and Mrs Violani ‘Ilolahia Wills; as well as Aniva graduates and their families.
Jean Mitaera who is Chief Advisor, Centre for Pacific Health and Social Practice at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga said: “This is a wonderful example of ‘by Pacific for Pacific’. Pacific leadership, Pacific nurse academic staff and senior practitioners guiding the development of our future Pacific health leaders. I acknowledge Dr Debbie Ryan, Pacific Perspectives, and the Aniva aiga for consistently raising the bar!”
Dr Debbie Ryan, Principal of Pacific Perspectives comments: “An often used Samoan quote is e fofo e le alamea le alamea - the solutions for the challenges facing Pacific communities lie with Pacific communities. We’d like to acknowledge Mark Oldershaw, Jean Mitaera, and their teams who have provided the space for the Aniva programmes to develop. The Aniva programmes are student centred and responsive, recognising that many of our Pacific nurses take up nursing after being in the workforce and juggle work, family, community and church commitments with the demands of academic study. We are also blessed to have the strong support of Pacific academics from other tertiary institutions and health provider leaders who generously support our teaching.”