Racism in­spires nurse’s Ma¯ori fo­cus

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - PAULA HULBURT

A mo­ment of ca­sual racism from a health­care pro­fes­sional helped a young nurse de­cide she wanted to spe­cialise in Ma¯ori com­mu­nity health.

Te Piki Oranga nurse Rosie Mackie has been work­ing in the Marl­bor­ough com­mu­nity since early 2017. The 22-year-old, whose part­ner Jamie iden­ti­fies with Te Re­wara, says she has never for­got­ten the in­ci­dent which took place at a doc­tor’s surgery in the North Is­land.

But the un­pleas­ant in­ci­dent only in­creased her de­ter­mi­na­tion to help break down bar­ri­ers of in­equal­ity within the health ser­vice.

‘‘I went to a GP ap­point­ment with Jamie and he asked me to go in with him. I no­ticed straight away the doc­tor was tar­get­ing all his ques­tions to me and not Jamie.

‘‘The dis­crep­ancy was a huge mo­ti­va­tion for me to go into Ma¯ori health. I want to get out and make a dif­fer­ence,’’ says Mackie who will join mil­lions of nurses across the globe to cel­e­brate International Nurses Day on May 12.

The date was set as a trib­ute to Florence Nightin­gale who was born on that day in 1820.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy Mackie be­gan a year of grad­u­ate train­ing with the Blen­heim-based Ma¯ori health care provider.

But she says mov­ing from a cul­tur­ally di­verse city took some get­ting used to.

‘‘My part­ner and I looked up a map of dis­trict health boards, we like wine and [Marl­bor­ough] looked beau­ti­ful and we thought, ‘why not?’

Mak­ing around five home vis­its a day, Mackie cov­ers an area from Can­vas­town and Have­lock through to Pic­ton and cen­tral Blen­heim.

She is a strong ad­vo­cate for the work Te Piki Oranga does by giv­ing fam­i­lies across the com­mu­nity the knowl­edge needed to em­power them in mak­ing their own health choices.

With a doc­tor fa­ther and a mother who was a nurse, Mackie says health­care al­ways in­ter­ested her.

‘‘Choos­ing nurs­ing was a no­brainer re­ally, it’s in­grained in me and Te Piki Oranga was a great choice.

‘‘We of­fer the same ser­vice as Plun­ket and work re­ally closely with them here.

‘‘It’s not like a hos­pi­tal ward where you can tap into another opin­ion so we re­ally rely on sup­port­ing each other.

‘‘The con­ti­nu­ity of care we of­fer is awe­some and fam­i­lies know there is al­ways some­one there for them.

‘‘I like to give us much in­for­ma­tion I can to fam­i­lies so they can make their own in­formed de­ci­sions and also know how to ac­cess other sup­port net­works.

‘‘It truly does take a vil­lage to raise a child.’’

Te Piki Or­naga nurse Rosie Mackie was in­spired to work in the Maori health sec­tor af­ter wit­ness­ing ca­sual racism first hand.

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