Nursing award winner rallies Pasifika colleagues

Samoan clinical nurse, Safaato’a (To’a) Fereti, won the Pasifika Futures Pacific Health and Wellbeing Award last week and dedicated the honour to her family and all her nursing colleagues. 

Speaking during the SunPix Awards 2020 last week after receiving her award, the mother-of-four said she was humbled by the award fully knowing there were many others who were working tirelessly who also deserve to be recognised.

Ms. Fereti is Chair of the New Zealand Nursing Council and President of the Pan Pacific Nurses Association.

She is also the Clinical Nurse Director of Medicine at Counties Manukau Health.

During her speech, Ms. Fereti encouraged the Pasifika nurse and midwifery workforce to take up leadership roles, in which they are able to ensure the future wellbeing of the Pacific communities.

"It is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020, and the current Covid-19 pandemic has brought a focus on the vital work that nurses and midwives have done to respond to this calling," she said.

"The regulated pacific workforce is largely made up of nurses and midwifery, and so the challenge for us continues to be that we need to be cultural, continue to be clinically safe and competent, and community-focused.

"I also acknowledge the nurses and midwifery leaders with respect to the precedence of the respective nurses' associations who are here tonight. Thank you for the work and support that we do together for our Pacific communities."

Ms. Fereti, was born in Lefaga and raised in Dunedin New Zealand. She is the daughter of the late Togia Farani and Faaula Emi Fereti.

She reminisced saying despite being raised in a community with not many Pasifika people, her parents instilled in them their Samoan values: love, service, respect, and humility.

"They always said to us, remember your roots, your identity. Remember those who came before you and also those who have helped you through your life and journey," said Ms. Fereti.

Ms. Fereti chose her profession early as she was in middle school after being admitted to the hospital multiple times when she was younger.

Previous recipients of this award include Malia Fuimaono (2019), Dr. Andrew Chan Mow (2018), Tupou Neiufi (2017), Hilda Fa’asalele (2016), and Buck Stowers (2015).

The SunPix Awards recognise outstanding individuals in six awards categories - Pacific Community Leadership, Pacific Education, Pacific Enterprise, Pacific Emerging Leadership Award, Pacific Health and Wellbeing, and Pacific Service Excellence. 

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