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NZNO Young Nurse of the Year Award

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s (NZNO’s) Young Nurse of the Year Award was presented at the organisation’s annual conference dinner on 19 September in Wellington.

For the second time in its five-year history the Award was given to two participants because the judging panel found both nominees equally impressive.

Award winner Annie Stevenson, a registered nurse working in the Kidz First Medical Ward at Middlemore Hospital, was nominated twice. Of Niuean descent, Annie’s first nomination was for her work on numerous projects including Lungs 4 Life, which seeks to reduce bronchiectasis among Māori and Pasifika populations.

A second nomination was for her passion for child protection and work around intimate partner violence and shaken baby prevention.

In presenting the award NZNO President Grant Brookes said Annie was an outstanding role model to all young nurses, but especially to young Pasifika nurses.

“Annie is impressive for her willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. She has had a real impact on the lives of infants in the Counties Manukau community and in the island nation of Kiribati where she has worked as a volunteer.”

Joint winner Aroha Ruha-Hiraka, a practice nurse at Kawerau Medical Centre in the Bay of Plenty, was nominated for her passion for improving the health status of Māori through prevention and education­ – in particular her work with the Centre’s COPD management and smoking cessation programme.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku acknowledged Aroha’s use of Tikanga and Te Reo to create a safe and respectful environment when working with patients and their whānau, and said she truly deserves recognition for her hard work and dedication.

“You are a wonderful role model for young and Māori nurses, and we couldn’t agree more with staff at Kawerau Medical Centre who say they are lucky to have you.”

Runner up Te Rongopai Clay-Mackay, a young Plunket Nurse working in Porirua, was also acknowledged for her work towards improving health for Māori. She is the first Plunket nurse to deliver both Well Child and B4 School programmes in Te Reo Māori and Kerri Nuku said Te Rongopai stood out for being “a vibrant, committed and caring young nurse who has demonstrated an incredible amount of maturity and professionalism in her work.”

The 2018 Award winners and runner up were chosen from 14 nominations. The judging panel consisted of representatives from All District Health Boards, The Office of the Chief Nurse (Ministry of Health), the NZNO President, Kaiwhakahaere and nursing staff, and last year’s winner Jess Tiplady.


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