Bernadette McKinley

In the final year of her degree Bernie was struggling to meet all her study related costs, and had exhausted her student loan options, so was very grateful to be able to call on her Whai Rawa savings to help get her through. “Being able to make a Whai Rawa withdrawal saved me. Without it I am not sure how I would have been able to finish”.

Bernadette McKinley (Ngāti Wheke)

Bernadette (‘Bernie’) decided to train as a nurse after working at Tauranga hospital as an Administrator since early 2007.

“I looked at different avenues within my workplace to create greater job variety and more challenge, so joined various committees and became our administration delegate. This provided me with a lot of learning and development opportunities and I met some great people, including some great nurses and nurse leaders that had an influence on me. I also wanted a degree, but not just any degree, it had to tick all the boxes. It had to relate well to my personality and natural skills, I obviously would have to enjoy it, there had to be a reasonable likelihood that I would gain employment at the completion of the degree and it had to offer variety. And there it was, jackpot, nursing! I am truly blessed to do what I actually love.”

Bernie had saved for her studies and continued to work long hours. Unfortunately this meant she wasn’t able to access student benefit entitlements until mid-2 and 3 year and she had used up her savings by the end of her first year.

In the final year of her degree Bernie was struggling to meet all her study related costs, and had exhausted her student loan options, so was very grateful to be able to call on her Whai Rawa savings to help get her through. “Being able to make a Whai Rawa withdrawal saved me. Without it I am not sure how I would have been able to finish”. She was then able to complete her nursing degree, and get a placement as a kaupapa nurse, working in the Acute Mental Health Ward at Te Whare Maiangiangi, the Tauranga Hospital. The placement is part of her Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing (Specialty Practice and Addiction).

“I have had a superb time during my placement and have received lots of manaakitanga which is really important given the challenging nature of the role. One of the processes in the ward involves asking Tangata Whaiora about their iwi which is a very empowering process for patients and staff; the sense of whanaungatanga, it creates changes in the relationship in a very positive way.”

Through her work at the hospital Bernie has also made contact with the taurahere roopū in Tauranga and is looking forward to attending upcoming hui.

“Once I’ve finished my postgraduate study I hope to continue my mahi at the Tauranga Hospital.  I’ll then be able to continue saving with Whai Rawa and Kiwisaver to buy my first home for me and my kotiro”.