Resources Events > NZCOM Journal > Issue 53 > Strategies for improving the experiences of Māori students in a blended Bachelor of Midwifery programme

Strategies for improving the experiences of Māori students in a blended Bachelor of Midwifery programme


Introduction: The New Zealand Māori population is predicted to increase to 16.6% of the total population by 2021 and more Māori midwives are needed.

Aim: The aim of this research was to ask Māori students about their experiences in the Bachelor of Midwifery programme and to identify strategies to optimise success for Māori students in becoming midwives.

Method: A participant research project was designed and undertaken, on behalf of the Midwifery School at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, by a Māori researcher, who was guided by Tuhiwai-Smith’s seven codes of conduct. Nine of a possible 22 students who self-identified as Māori consented to participate. Ethical approval for the study was granted by the Otago Polytechnic Ethics Committee, following consultation with the Kaitohutohu’s (Māori advisor) office which provided support for the Māori researcher.

Findings: The Māori students appreciated the opportunities afforded by the blended midwifery programme model, such as the range of learning modes and being able to study in their home areas. The students were challenged by aspects of the programme organisation, the learning environment, student placements and assessments, the lack of Māori visibility, and aspects of the support for Māori students. Recommendations were offered by the students for changes that would improve the learning experience for Māori.

Conclusion: Incorporation of the recommended changes has the potential to improve the learning culture for Māori students in this midwifery programme. This includes changes to the programme organisation and developing a learning environment that more visibly celebrates bicultural identity; thereby decreasing the attrition rate for Māori students in the programme, increasing the number of Māori midwives registering, and contributing to the richness, success and enjoyment of the programme by all students.

Keywords: Māori students, midwifery education, student support

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