Te ORA and Te Oranga Press Release
Te ORA and Te Oranga are concerned that Māori will not be able
to afford student fees to become medical doctors.
Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa - Māori Medical Practitioners Association
(Te ORA) and Te Oranga - Māori Medical Students Aotearoa is
concerned that the current cap of seven years of student loan
entitlement will be a significant barrier to Māori entering into
medical school and becoming doctors.
A Medical degree in New Zealand requires 6 years of study,
making it the longest undergraduate degree in the country. Each
year 30% of the class is selected by the universities from a pool
of applicants with a previous degree.
Dr Rawiri Jansen (Chair, Te ORA) says,Te ORA is deeply concerned
that the current proposal will have a disproportionate negative
effect on Māori students and their ability to complete their
medical studies, noting that the journey for many Māori into
medical careers is longer. I myself initially trained as a
teacher, if this policy was in place back then, I wouldn't be a
Māori doctor today".
Te ORA and Te Oranga also recognise that Māori medical students
(current and potential) are more likely to come from lower
socio-economic backgrounds. Jake Aitken (Te Oranga &
NZMSA representative) says, "It's likely that this will impact
adversely on Māori medical students who will struggle to stump up
with the $15,000 - $30,000 required for them to complete their
medical training. Te ORANGA is worried that this will deter
young Māori from aspiring towards a career in medicine due to the
financial strain that will be passed on to whānau".
Both Te ORA and Te ORANGA highlight the significant investments
made by both medical schools (Otago and Auckland) in recruiting,
training and graduating Māori to become medical doctors. This
has resulted in more Māori becoming medical doctors. This
must continue and in fact, we need more to come through.
Dr Rawiri Jansen (Chair, Te ORA) says,'We arepleased to hear
that Minister Joyce is keeping an open mind. Te ORA and Te
Oranga urges Minister Joyce to ensure that the significant gains
made in increasing the numbers of Māori medical doctors continues.
We must capitalise on the investments made, we need a diverse
medical workforce to respond to the increasing diverse health needs
of our population. Simply, more Māori doctors is good for
Māori and good for New Zealand".