Samoan Bachelor of Nursing students Rosalia Taotofi, Victoria Lealaiauloto Nofoaiga and Alma Su’a received this year’s Ministry of Health Pasifika Scholarship. Victoria is in her third year of study and has won the scholarship twice already. “It is a great opportunity to build the capability of Pasifika people in New Zealand to become health professionals,” she says.
Although the Pasifika population in New Zealand is growing, they are massively underrepresented in New Zealand’s health system. Victoria, for instance, was the only Pasifika student in her intake.
Therefore, they say, being a nurse with a Pasifika background means adding diversity to the health system, educating their people as well as offering a trustworthy familiar face to people who often avoid going to the hospital and rely on curing themselves with traditional medicine.
Victoria grew up in New Zealand and Samoa and says she picked up different cultures and incorporated them into her own. As for now, she applies Samoan values like alofa (love) and tautua (service) to her work as a nurse.
Alma stresses that the scholarship allows her to pursue her dream job that she has had since she was a little girl. Rosalia meanwhile, particularly enjoys the fact that she understands more of the patients’ conditions by connecting science with the actual nursing. Being the first nurse in her family also gives her the chance to give something very precious back to her family too. “Providing care and giving love is something that to us Pasifika people comes naturally.”