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To mark the closing of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori there was a korowai ceremony and blessing held on July 8 at Wellington Regional Hospital. Gifted to the DHB by the Māori Partnership Board and C&C DHB Whānau Care Services, the korowai is a traditional cloak that is wrapped around the base of the pounamu in the main atrium of the new hospital.
After the blessings by DHB kaumātua Sam Jackson, Koro Bill and Uncle Tuki, Māori Health Development Group Director Riki Nia Nia also used the occasion to celebrate the recent improvements in satisfaction rates for Māori patients across the DHB following the implementation of tikanga guidelines and training in 2009. “In the two years since we implemented the guidelines and training, we’ve seen a marked improvement in Māori patient satisfaction, with over 80% saying that staff had addressed their emotional and spiritual needs during their time in hospital.
“We can see a steady upward trend in patient satisfaction, particularly in being offered culture-specific choices when in hospital for both patients and their whānau, with whānau satisfaction now at 86.9%. Eighty percent of Capital & Coast staff have now undergone tikanga training and it is rewarding to see that patient satisfaction increases as more people undergo training."
Riki paid special mention to Capital & Coast Board member Margaret Faulkner for her long-term support of Māori Health initiatives. “I see a huge pride in what we have achieved," said Margaret, “and I am very proud of the way we as a DHB have worked with Māori.
"It was a battle to build the hospital but one well worth the fight and this beautiful gift we have unveiled today is absolutely stunning.”
Chair of the Māori Partnership Board Jack Rikihana said it was a special day. “The life force of this new building is its entrance way, it is the beginning of the healing process for many. The gifting of this korowai and the pounamu is a symbol of our unity between the Board, the staff and Māori. It’s here because it is a healing stone. It’s here because the people wanted it and because the pounamu wanted to be here so when you pass it, please give the korowai a brush and rub the pounamu. Together they symbolise our togetherness.”
Vicky Noble, Director of Primary Care Nursing and Integrated Care, said Capital & Coast appreciated both these exquisite gifts and acknowledged the import role that the tikanga guidelines had had on all nursing staff. “The korowai represents how we care for our people and how we protect and keep them warm and provide for each other.”