Thirty new Northland nurses are ready to start their careers caring for people.
NorthTec's Te Puna o Te Matauranga Marae hosted another celebration of success last week when 30 nursing students celebrated the end of their study journeys.
It was a big week for 30 graduates, who sat their Nursing Council state final examinations the day before, to qualify as registered nurses after three (or more) years of hard work and sacrifices.
Each student took the opportunity to speak, to acknowledge the huge support they had received from their families, NorthTec tutors and classmates.
Nursing tutor Joanna Davison also spoke, explaining to the graduates the importance of the whakawātea.
"You started your studies with a pōwhiri to welcome you into our NorthTec whānau, and with this whakawātea, we give you back to your whānau, your community, and into a profession we are all really proud of."
She also acknowledged the support the graduates had received throughout their studies, telling them success was not the work of one, but the work of many.
Bachelor of Nursing graduate Niki Te Puni said the whakawātea gave her the opportunity to recognise and celebrate success, and give acknowledgement to families, tutors and fellow classmates, adding that many factors had inspired her choice of career.
"Having a mum (Raiquel Te Puni) as a registered nurse, my daughter who has a bronchiectasis [a long-term condition], to give back to my community, my people, to find fulfilment in the mahi that I do, the list goes on," she said.
"Looking back three years ago, that inspiration is still the same, but I have learned through the degree that there is a need to improve inequities for Māori and improve health outcomes for all. Knowing this absolutely fuels the fire in me to be a nurse.
"My mum has always been a great role model for me, as not only a registered nurse but a great mum and friend also. I always think if my mum could do it at 25 years old, married and with four children, then I really have no excuses. She is an absolute inspiration, proving all stereotypes wrong. My parents are a great example of hard work and determination."
The nursing department at NorthTec anticipates seeing 70 graduates of the Bachelor of Nursing degree at the formal annual NorthTec graduation ceremony in March. The polytechnic has two nursing intakes each year, and stages a marae-based whakawātea to farewell each group at the end of their studies.