About 100 Rotorua nurses and health care workers donned their rain coats or had umbrellas in hand, not letting their march be disrupted by the rain.

The march was one of 15 nationwide marches and rallies held today, coinciding with International Nurses Day.

Jackie Anderson has been a nurse for 15-years and today she marched with her co-worker and friend Elaine Hayward.

"We want safer staffing," Anderson said.

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"So we want to see more nurses on the wards where it's really busy. To see a better pay rate and for new graduates to all get a job."

Anderson said she was lucky to be in a good job where she was really well supported.

"Today I am here for all the others, who are experiencing the struggles that I faced in the early days of my career."

Rotorua nurses braved the weather to protest for better working conditions. Photo/Stephen Parker
Rotorua nurses braved the weather to protest for better working conditions. Photo/Stephen Parker

A variety of nurses, who chose not to be named from fear of backlash, said better support for nurses against the bullying in hospitals was also wanted.

The protests were organised by the Nurse Florence #hearourvoice social media movement which was launched on Facebook in March.

Nurse Florence is not affiliated with any nursing organisation or union.

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The Wellington march headed to Parliament at midday to deliver a petition with more than 30,000 signatures calling for safer staffing and better pay for nurses.

Registered nurse Tracey Sebire who organised the Rotorua march around her shifts in surgical theatre has worked for the Lakes District Health Board for three years, but began nursing in 1986.

"It's been a good turn out considering the rain," she said.

"The response from the public has been pretty good from people."

There were lots of toots from members of the public as the group waved their protest signs outside Rotorua Central Mall on Amohau St.

Sebire then gave a speech which was being given across the country.

"For too long, nurses have had to work in unsafe environments," she said.

"For too long, the wards nurses work in have been understaffed, putting themselves and patients at risk.

"For too long nurses have had to put up with these working conditions and understaffing."

Rotorua nurses marched through the streets as part of International Nurses Day. Photo/Stephen Parker
Rotorua nurses marched through the streets as part of International Nurses Day. Photo/Stephen Parker

Since April 23, New Zealand nurses have been voting on whether to take two full days of strike action, as they demand better pay and working conditions from district health boards.

The vote follows members' rejection of a 2 per cent pay rise from DHBs.

An independent panel was set up last month to try to resolve issues.

If nurses agree, strike action will go ahead if the panel cannot reach an agreement.

A spokeswoman for the Lakes District Health Board said it had no comment to make at this time.

The ballot is open for 30 days, with postal ballots due back on May 22 and online votes due on May 25 at 5pm.