NEW ZEALAND WANTS MORE PACIFIC ISLAND NURSES

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Numbers don’t reflect population at large

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 10, 2009) – A group of health providers in New Zealand says there is a serious shortage of Pacific Island nurses in New Zealand.

Almost 7 per cent of New Zealand's population is of Pacific Island origin, however they make up just 3 per cent of nurses.

One of the country's major child health service providers - Plunket - has held its annual conference and says it plans to do more to increase the number of Pacific Island nurses working in the country.

The National Pacific Services Manager for Plunket, Falenaoti Mokalagi Tamapeau, says the shortage of Pacific Island workers applies right across the health care sector.

"For example in 2006, the figures were that there was about 32,000 or 33,000 nurses and midwives who were registered and qualified and of that number 3 percent were of Pacific descent – that’s about 1,000 nurses," she said.

"If you put that up against the current percentage of our population it just isn't meeting the need."

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