Launched in 2009, WhyOra, a Taranaki organisation dedicated to boosting the number of Máori working in health, is getting results.
In 2011, WhyOra’s Incubator programme was introduced to year 12 and 13 students at Hawera and Waitara High Schools. By 2013, all 13 Taranaki secondary schools participated.
By 2018 there are over 86 students taking health-related courses at tertiary institutes around New Zealand – studying in various health degrees ranging from Health care assistants to Doctors.
Since it began, 91 WhyOra participants have secured full time employment 18 of the 91 had been supported with a cadetship (paid employment opportunity within a health organisation). As well as those supported into the health sector 30 of WhyOra’s registered students had transitioned into tertiary non-health degrees and 58 have entered into non-health employment.
WhyOra had their first Doctor graduate at the end of 2017 (a former Hawera High School student) and a further nine medical students are in the study pipe line.
The pathway programme has already had an impact on the Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB). When WhyOra first began only 6% of the workforce were Maori – now it is 9.8%. and continuing to increase.
The TSB Community Trust has been a long-term supporter of WhyOra (formerly known as Whakatipuranga Rima Rau). In the last financial year WhyOra received a grant of $200,000 towards its activities.
Says its Manager Tanya Anaha “the Trust’s funding is supporting more than an increase in the Maori health workforce – it also supports WhyOra to assist Taranaki Maori to raise aspirations and break down barriers. Providing pastoral support helps people to enter a career pathway”.