Take a look at this fantastic news story on 1 News on Health Science Academies running in Auckland schools that are helping Pacific Island students excel at science. Here you will meet Fono, an inspirational young woman who has recently started her career as a nurse in South Auckland.

She was part of the Grow Our Own Workforce programme, which has seen stunning results in teaching, mentoring and preparing students for careers in health sciences.

Grow Our Own is dedicated to having more Maaori and Pacific young people consider health as a career, and then be employed within South Auckland. The idea for Health Science Academies came out a conversation in 2009 between Stephen Tindall and Counties Manukau Health CEO Geraint Morgan. The objective: to have more than 200 Pacific and Māori young people “in the pipeline” for health careers in South Auckland.

The initial partnership with The Tindall Foundation has seen an investment of over $2.5m by Foundation towards this project over the past seven years.

Counties Manukau DHB (CMDHB) aims to double the number of Maaori and Pacific working within the DHB, across all health professions. This would enable workforce to better reflect the community it serves by being more responsive and proactive in meeting local healthcare needs.

Health Science Academies were set up at James Cook High School and Tangaroa College providing extra tuition in science, maths and English, to prepare the students to gain entry to tertiary study, including medical school, and direct contact with doctors, nurses and others in the medical field. The idea has spread to four other schools in South and West Auckland.

The young woman named Fono who you meet in the 1 News story was part of the first cohort in the Health Science Academy at Tangaroa College. She was inspired to studying nursing and has now graduated, taking up a job in Kidz First Public Health Nursing Team in CMDHB.  She is the first in her family to be university educated.