Emotions were running high last Thursday as Jendi Ward, the recipient of former Tui Ora Chief Executive Hayden Wano’s scholarship, Te Māra Kūmara a Rākeiora, took to the stage and was presented with her taonga. Tui Ora Kaihautu Oranga Hinengaro (Mental Health Leader) and the Tui Ora comms team were in attendance to mark the moment, and following a great kōrero from her, Linda was honoured to acknowledge Jendi and all her hard work.
“Rākeiora was a tupuna of Tokomaru waka” Linda explained to the rōpū of around 80 ākonga and their whānau. “He was a tohunga and in charge of looking after our kumara. Without it we probably wouldn’t have survived. It kept our tupuna sustained while we travelled here. It kept us going and still does today”. The name was awarded to the scholarship by Keri Opai (Tui Ora’s Pou Tikanga), and it exemplifies the mahi that Hayden has done in terms of nurturing and growing not only our Māori workforce but our community as such. It’s quite fitting because Hayden was also a nurse and also worked in the mental health arena”.
“We invited second year nursing students to apply for the scholarship, she continued. “Tui Ora will pay for the recipient’s third year tuition fees and once they have graduated, they will have employment with us at Tui Ora for the following two years. It’s been a fair bit of development on our part so now it’s like “Oh wow, we’ve got here!” which has been fantastic”.
Jendi heads up to the stage, all smiles!
Linda unfortunately had to give apologies on Hayden’s behalf, who was unable to be in attendance due to whānau commitments, however the show of course must go on. “I’m really humbled and honoured to be able to stand here tonight and announce that the recipient of our scholarship is Jendi Ward!
As an attendee chimed in with a beautiful waiata, Jendi walked up, beaming and clearly stoked at having this incredible opportunity become a reality. She and Linda immediately embraced for a hug, and she was presented with a large book to help her through her nursing studies.
Jendi receives her book as part of the taonga presentation!