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Young male Pasifika nurse’s inspiring work recognised

New Zealand Nurses Organisation Media Release September 22, 2021.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s (NZNO’s) annual Young Nurse of the Year Award was presented to Daniel Mataafa at the organisation’s online Annual General Meeting on 16 September.

Mr Mataafa, of Samoan whakapapa, is a 29-year-old Regional Pacific Nurse Case Manager based at Middlemore Hospital. His nominators said he has earned a reputation for providing outstanding, holistic care and for “working tirelessly to ensure every patient, staff and carer interaction meets Te Tiriti principles”.

His nominators described how “he goes above and beyond what was expected in order to ensure patient journeys are seamless, respectful and safe” and that they have witnessed nursing professionalism of a standard they have not seen in such a young nurse.  

They also laud Mr Mataafa for his courage and resilience in breaking through the stigma of being a Samoan male nurse and using his experience to support other young Pasifika men.

Mr Mataafa says he was lost for words and humbled when he learned he had received the award.

“When I got the call from NZNO I was speechless. I had to take my break early to let it sink in. I feel really honoured, but deep down I know any of the nominees deserve it too.”

Mr Mataafa says he is proud of being able to build resilience and adapt to carry on doing the work he does. He also highlights that he’s grateful to work alongside such a good team of people.

“Among them I’m supported to keep developing myself so I in turn can offer the best support and care I can to my community here.”

Mr Mataafa was chosen from 20 nominations. The judging panel consisted of Margie Apa representing all District Health Boards, the NZNO Kaiwhakahaere, Chief Executive and nursing staff, NZNO Nursing Education Research Foundation member Melinda Jordan and 2020 winner Kelly Talbot.


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

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