South Auckland Youth Organisation launches Maaori Health Science Academy

Earlier this month, Taiohi Whai Oranga, a Manurewa Marae-based youth organisation, joined forces with Counties Manukau Health and The Tindall Foundation to launch a Maaori Health Science Academy – the first of its kind in South Auckland.

Based at Alfriston College, this dedicated Maaori Health Science Academy has just accepted its first intake of 25 young Maaori students. 

The partnership between the college, local Marae, Counties Manukau Health and The Tindall Foundation aims to support young Maaori to become health professionals working in their local area. It will accept 25 Year 11 students each year. Its focus on early engagement and holistic culturally appropriate support has been designed by Taiohi Whai Oranga.

The new Maaori Health Science Academy builds on the award winning Health Science Academy model that was developed in South Auckland based on the USA ‘magnet school’ concept. Essentially a Health Science Academy is a ‘school within a school’ that has a health career and employment focus.

One of the key strategic goals of Counties Manukau Health is to achieve health equity for Maaori by 2020; one of the key enablers in achieving this is to have a Maaori workforce that reflects our local community.

Taiohi Whai Oranga was launched in 2014. The Marae-based organisation focusses on addressing youth education, health and employment issues in Manurewa, and supports young people to excel in a modern ever-changing world.

Deidre Otene, General Manager of Taiohi Whai Oranga says, “There is a wealth of knowledge amongst our young people. We believe they can make excellent doctors, nurses, physios, occupational therapists when provided with the right opportunities and support. This is exactly what the new Academy will offer.”

“We have chosen to partner with Taiohi Whai Oranga and Alfriston College as they provide innovative leadership in working with youth in this area,” says Riki Nia Nia, General Manager of Maaori Health at Counties Manukau Health.

The expected outcomes are that Maaori students leaving Alfriston College will choose to study health science at a tertiary level and progress into CM Health's workforce.