Ruth Tan reports on Te Rau Oranga Fund activities since she and Stephen Ng established it at Momentum Waikato in February 2023.   

The goal of Te Rau Oranga Fund is to provide inspiration, mentorship and open doors into a health care career for young Maaori. Over the last year there have been several avenues by which we have engaged with Maaori students at Te Kura o Taniwharau-Fraser High School in Hamilton to encourage this vision.

I have been into the school on a number of occasions and brought with me other health care professionals to talk to and inspire the rangatahi with different health career pathways, including medicine, phlebotomy, kaitiaki and medical sales representatives.

We have also been involved in the annual puuhoro waananga which was held at The University of Waikato. This waananga involves multiple schools throughout the Waikato region and provides a careers day for Maaori students. We worked with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Johnson & Johnson to hold an interactive saw bone workshop for the rangatahi, which was well received and engaged many students.

Te Rau Oranga awarded $10,000 worth of scholarships to nine successful students in 2023. They ranged from Year Nine to Year Twelve, with the amount depending on the student. The scholarships have gone towards bus fares to aid transport to and from school, school uniforms, calculators, study books, and Chromebooks.

Stephen and Ruth (centre right) with the nine Te Kura o Taniwharau students who received Te Rau Oranga Fund scholarships in 2023.

Stephen Ng and I also had a very lovely lunch with the recipients, and it was great to engage with the students, get to know them and encourage them in their journey. We have students interested in medicine, counselling, surgery, ophthalmology and nursing.

Two students also had the fantastic opportunity of a holiday job at The Hamilton Eye Clinic. This expereience provides exposure to the health care environment, whilst earning money at the same time.

Additionally, two other students had the experience of a day in theatre with me watching surgery. This was a fantastic opportunity to show them how patients are anaesthatised and the unique theatre environment.

A day in the operating theatre.

They observed a revision total knee joint replacement, which introduced them to the many different specialties which help a theatre run – surgeon, anesthetist, anesthetic technician, nurses, health care assistants, sales representatives and radiographers.

I am grateful to the Waikato Hospital and the patient who provided consent for the students to attend, these students gained an invaluable opportunity that not many get to experience.

On 23 February 2024 Braemar Hospital welcomed seven students for an open day, which was a fabulous success.

The students experienced the generosity and hospitality that Braemar provides. After a warm welcome, the students toured the hospital wards and theatre environment. They were shown laparoscopic surgery on a capsicum, even having the opportunity to run the camera themselves, and were able to engage and ask questions to many of the Braemar staff.

The students visiting Braemar Hospital.

Overall, they found the trip “worthwhile” and “enjoyed their time talking to Braemar staff.”

One student said: "I loved that I got to experience going to Braemar Hospital and there was nothing that I didn't enjoy. I would love to see surgery happen and I feel like the trip was worthwhile."

We aim to improve health outcomes for Maaori in the Waikato by increasing the number of Maaori working in the health system, which will ultimately also broaden and strengthen the health workforce overall.

If you would like to support this vision, you can find out more and donate at