Beverly is a qualified midwife and currently works as a Breast Feeding Coordinator for Kahungunu Health Services and Totara Health in the Hastings region. She graduated from Ngā Manukura o Āpōpō in 2009. She hails from Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu, and Scottish/Italian background.
Before the Training
Prior to her participation in Ngā Manukura o pō pō , Beverly worked as a midwife alongside her mother and aunt. At that time she did not have any particular aspirations for leadership, or in terms of moving in a different direction professionally.
I was just getting on with doing the midwifery role… delivering babies… learning the tools of the trade. Didn’t see a bigger scope… knew there were Māori health issues but didn’t see a pathway to address inequalities.
During the training
Beverly’s experience of the training was very positive. She found the two facilitators approachable, supportive, and influential.
You couldn’t say anything wrong… everything was worth exploring … this was a good incubator for leadership to happen.
Rubbing shoulders with influential, strong Māori women and men was a highlight for Beverly. Having been frustrated with inequalities to health for Māori but not knowing what to do about them, these people clearly identified what the issues were and how they could be addressed.
They identified issues and highlighted pathways for how to address them. They clearly identified them and things that they had put into practice. I didn’t feel alone. Just talking made me feel confident to say – this is not right.
Overall, Beverly was very impressed with the training format. Being on the marae provided a safe environment in which to discuss Māori issues. The noho marae format was an added bonus as it allowed for debrief and discussions, particularly useful for Beverly and the rest of her midwifery team who were also present.
We had the chance to debrief about our actual situation and how to apply things we learnt on the course. We would get together in the down time, talk about what’s happening and what’s not going well.
After the training
Since the training, an array of positive changes has occurred in Beverly’s life. Amongst other things, she is now pursuing her interest in environmental impacts of Māori health through a Master’s in Public Health at Massey University.
Beverly is also the breast feeding coordinator for the iwi, on the maternity governance board, and the main driver for implementing a Kahungunu Clinical Board – in recognition that Hawkes Bay now has a strong presence of experienced Māori health professionals (including doctors, nurses, osteopaths, Kaiawhina).
In her breast feeding coordinator role she took on the challenge of writing a breast feeding plan for the region. The plan has received nominations for the Hawkes Bay Health Awards two years running – in the categories of inequality, innovation, and integration. She highlights that her nominations have come from both Māori and Pakeha organisations (e.g., Plunket). An unanticipated side effect from this project was that she was asked to go to Mongolia to provide breast feeding advice as part of a UNICEF and Rotary project. She recognises the support from facilitators and other trainees in writing the plan.
It’s focused on Māori… its’ very clear and precise. I didn’t’ have to hold back… had masters [other course participants] around me. It gave me the confidence to really address Māori issues.
Beverly recalls that previous to the course, she would sometimes end up in confrontational situations with mainstream hospital staff. At the time, Beverly and her team members did not know how to address or manage these.
We’d just go back to the clinic and whinge about them. Now, I have the confidence to say how I feel… instead of buttoning my lip.
Although Beverly completed her training over two years ago, she highlights the continued sharing, connection, and learning she gets from the Ngā Manukura o Āpōpō graduate network which provides her with up to date knowledge of what is happening around the country – and how any issues may be addressed. She praises one of the Ngā Manukura o Āpōpō facilitators for keeping this valuable network up and running.
Beverly also recognises how her increased confidence, knowledge, and skills have supported her to take a more active role within her own whānau (e.g., in terms of land, resources, and health issues).
I am now confident I know what I am talking about. I have written a whānau health plan addressing life insurance, wellness, and how to address these. Not something I would have done before.