Becoming ‘culturally aware’ through Maori Nursing

Once Bupa Cedar Manor Care Home Caregiver, Maribeth Perez began her Bachelor of Health Sciences Māori Nursing programme, she was surprised to find the similarities between Māori culture and her own Filipino culture.

“We can relate in the strict customs and protocols. It was good to see how similar we are,” Maribeth says.

The 48 year old, who’s been with Bupa as a caregiver since 2013, was granted a Bupa scholarship to assist with her fees for the three year course.

This nursing programme is accredited by the Nursing Council of New Zealand and New Zealand Qualifications Authority. The course is run by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane and has meant the sacrifice of regular travel for Maribeth from Tauranga three days a week.

A thorough Māori historical timeline presented in the course helped Maribeth to find other similarities to Filipino culture such as New Zealand colonisation and integration.

Another highlight for Maribeth was learning about the importance of asking for consent before touching a Māori elder on the head, as it is considered very sacred in Māori culture.

Having completed her nursing degree in Visayas, Philippines, Maribeth wanted to become a Registered Nurse at Cedar Manor, while also understanding another side to nursing in New Zealand.

“I know I’m only half way through the course but already it has made me very culturally aware. My nursing style will change for the better because of it”.