Forty-two new nurses are ready to care for patients after the latest graduation from NorthTec's bachelor of nursing programme.
About 300 whanau and friends packed the NorthTec marae last week to watch a formal farewell for a class of nursing degree graduates.
The 42 graduates, who have just finished their three-year bachelor of nursing programme, each received flowers and a NorthTec badge as they thanked supporters who had helped them on the journey to becoming qualified nurses.
Nursing tutor Joanna Davison paid tribute to the students for their hard work and acknowledged the family members and friends in attendance.
Quoting a Maori proverb, she said: "Success is not the work of one, but of many. It was the support and love of all those people here today that helped you get through. They say it takes a village to raise a child; well, it takes a community to raise a nurse."
She told the group of graduates: "We, as the nursing department, feel immensely proud of you and the achievements you have attained.
We know that, over the three years, it can be a time of stress, frustration and great sacrifice.
"Be confident in yourselves and your practice, remember that people are our taonga or treasure, and care for them well.
"I know that the future of our community is in great hands."
Phil Giles, director of arts, commerce and applied science, said: "We have, if not the best then one of the best, nursing departments in the country. I think our graduates stack up against any other department, and are right up there when it comes to employment outcomes."
NorthTec has two annual intakes of nursing students. The graduates last week were from a mid-year intake, and will graduate formally at next year's NorthTec-wide graduation ceremony.