It is widely recognized that a capable and competent Māori health workforce is central to improving health outcomes for Māori. However, little attention has been paid to the development of indigenous health practitioners as specialists in their own right. Huarahi Whakatū is the only Nursing Council accredited Professional Development Recognition Program focused specifically on the needs of Māori Registered Nurses (RNs). Outcomes which have resulted from Huarahi Whakatū include recognition and affirmation of the distinctive elements Māori RNs bring to their practice, and Māori RNs being assisted to identify and articulate evidence based on those elements. Issues for consideration in the ongoing development of Huarahi Whakatū include recognition that individual journeys towards the development of a body of knowledge and practice which underpins indigenous nursing are unique and lifelong; and the critical importance of wider systemic support which both recognizes the validity and legitimacy of the distinctive elements Māori RNs bring to their nursing practice, and actively supports Māori RNs to access professional development pathways which support their development as specialized indigenous health practitioners.
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