Sharelle Ratu is one of a growing number of Māori changing the look and feel of Hutt Valley DHB.
Sharelle grew up in Wainuiomata, and hails from Ngāti Apakura - that's a part of the larger iwi Ngāti Maniapoto.
For the last two months, she has been interning with the DHB's Māori Health Team. The internship came thanks to a Kia Ora Hauora Champion Scholarship she received while studying a Bachelor of Social Work at Whitireia Polytechnic last year.
Supported by district health boards and the Ministry of Health, Kia Ora Hauora aims to increase Māori employment in DHBs to reflect their local population by 2025
That would mean increasing the amount of Māori staff at Hutt Valley DHB from about 6 percent to about 17 percent.
Sharelle said much of her internship was spent supporting whanau on the wards at Hutt hospital as a part of the Manaaki Whanau team. Their role is to support and advocate for Māori patients and their whanau to achieve better health outcomes.
The Manaaki Whanau role also entails sometimes supporting the clinical staff to help support whanau who at times can be challenging or who are in complex situations, helping them to relate to each other for the benefit of everyone.
“For me it’s all about being able to support whanau, being able to contribute to changing outcomes to improve Māori health.
"It’s also about being able to support and work together with my colleagues in the Māori Health Team and in other departments of the hospital to be able to achieve the best health outcomes for Māori."