Minister Launches Taranaki Project to Create 500 Jobs for Maori

26 August 2010

On 27 August 2010, Minister Tariana Turia will visit Taranaki to launch Whakatipuranga Rima Rau: Towards 500 – Maori health and disability workforce project.

The project aims to create 500 employment opportunities for Maori in the Taranaki health and disability sector over the next 10 years.

Whakatipuranga Rima Rau (WRR) was initiated by the Ministry of Social Development through Work and Income and the Taranaki District Health Board, in conjunction with iwi relationship board Te Whare Punanga Korero. It has additional funding and support from the TSB Community Trust and Te Puni Kokiri.

Maori represent 16% of Taranaki’s population but only about 6% of the health workforce.  Evidence indicates a strong correlation between the health outcomes of Maori and the way services are delivered to them.

According to David Tamatea, Chair of Te Whare Punanga Korero, more than 60% of the Maori population is under the age of 30.  That represents tremendous potential for the future of Taranaki and the health and disability workforce.

Taranaki DHB Chief Executive Tony Foulkes said the collaborative partnership will help support the needs of whanau on their journey to maximum health and well-being. “Over the next 10 years we aim grow the Maori health workforce, raise the level of qualifications Maori hold, and increase Maori representation in the health professional workforce.”

Gloria Campbell, Regional Commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development said Work and Income has an unrelenting focus on work. “There has been considerable research on the connection between employment and wellbeing and we know that employment is the best welfare policy.”

“That is not just about the impact of better income and the opportunities for better housing, health and lifestyle but also psychological well-being.  People in employment are better connected socially.  They have better self-reliance, self-esteem, happiness and life-satisfaction, and have fewer symptoms of stress and depression.”

“Their improved wellbeing and outcomes will not only impact on them but also on their families and Whanau and the people they will care for in our community,” she said.

WRR uses ‘Health as a career’ as the major platform to guide, support, mentor, fund and facilitate Maori through education and training and onto employment in the local health and disability sector. “Incubator”, an intensive student mentoring programme is one way of doing this. 

Thanks to the support of the TSB Community Trust there are currently 50 year 12 and 13 Maori students from Hawera and Waitara High Schools participating in the programme.  Websites such as “” and “” are other ways of profiling the wide range of health careers while one-on-one student support is another important part of the support system envisaged.

Taranaki DHB is one of the largest employers in Taranaki and supports workforce development across the region’s health sector. The DHB has committed $140,000 per annum over the next three years to the project. 

 “This partnership addresses health needs as well as welfare, education and the employment needs of our community. It is a shining example of how more can be achieved by working together,” Mr Foulkes said.

This initiative was embraced by Te Whare Punanga Korero (TWPK), which represents the eight iwi of Taranaki and provides leadership and strategic influence among the Taranaki Maori community in relation to Maori health and workforce development. TWPK has provided essential support and advice to this project.

The TSB Community Trust provided critical momentum to the project.  Their funding commitment meant the dream could become a reality and paved the way for other investors to come on board.  Te Puni Kokiri are funding the co-ordinator’s position which is crucial to the operational success of WWR.

All those involved believe that Whakatipuranga Rima Rau will make a significant difference for the Taranaki community and that it has national implications as a possible solution to the imbalance in the present health workforce.

“The launch celebrates what has been a long haul by a number of people and a huge opportunity for Maori and the people of Taranaki,” Mrs Campbell said. “Whakatipuranga Rima Rau is ground breaking, it’s challenging but it is projects like this that change communities and those involved are absolutely determined that we will succeed.”


Achievements to date:

  • TSB Community Trust has given $75k for the Incubator programme
  • 50 Maori year 12 and 13 students from Hawera and Waitara High Schools participating in the “Incubator” student mentoring programme.
  • 18 of those students spent a week of their last school holidays at Auckland University as guests of the Whakapiki Ake programme which supports Maori students at Auckland Med School.
  • Te Puni Kokiri has committed $77k p.a. to enable the Whakatipuranga Rima Rau Trust for project coordination.
  • The coordinator will start in position part time in the next two weeks and move to full time in November.
  • Taranaki DHB has committed $140k per annum over the next three years to the project
  • A website has been initiated to profile Taranaki health workers in their chosen careers. 
  • Linked to a national website, the websites take whanau through a range of health career journeys.
  • A pilot cadetship has been set up for a person to train for 12 months in community dental services.
  • They will work in different situations with the DHB’s Dental services unit, including a placement at the new clinic soon to be opened on the Rangiatea Maori education campus here in New Plymouth.

For more information please call

Linda Paterson                                                             
MSD Community Liaison Advisor for Work and Income
Taranaki, King Country, Whanganui Region
DDI (06) 9686703  Mobile 0296500105


Krysti Wetton
Communications Advisor
Taranaki District Health Board 
Phone 753 7777 extn 8486

Last updated: Monday, October 4, 2010

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