Racism inspires nurse’s Ma¯ori focus
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.