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Most prized Māori health award presented

Northland mental health nurse and advocate Moe Milne (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) has been presented with the 2018 Akenehi Hei Memorial Award for her contribution to Māori mental health.

Moe Milne was a psychiatric nurse specialising in Māori mental health for many years and, as kaiwhakahaere for the Health and Disability Commission, she helped develop its mental health service guidelines – Ngā Tikanga Totika. She currently works as a cultural competency educator for mental health workforce development centre Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui.

In an emotional ceremony at the Indigenous Nurses Aotearoa Conference on 11 August, previous winner Pareake O’Brien passed the pounamu, stone and pohutukawa award to Moe Milne, who said she felt “extremely humbled, but also very proud”.

The Akenehi Hei Memorial Award is presented every two years by Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa ­– a Tiriti o Waitangi partner to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) representing its Māori members. The Award is named after Akenehi Hei, the first Māori nurse and midwife to register under her own name rather than the name ‘Agnes’ given to her by her Pākehā employers.

NZNO kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said Moe Milne was well known for her work supporting not only nurses, but every Māori who wants help.

“Moe’s dedication is a gift to all New Zealanders and I was very proud to present this award to such a great person who is so dedicated to Māori health needs and education.

“She generates the same aroha, manaakitanga and commitment to her people as Akenehi Hei and is truly inspirational for her contributions to Māori health and knowledge.”

Kerri Nuku said the award was Te Rūnanga’s most prized because of its mauri and the mana of Akenehi Hei.

This is not the first formal recognition for Moe Milne who was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017 for her services to Māori health.


Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.

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