A primary health service provider in the South Island says there's a need for more Maori and Pacific healthcare practitioners.
Pegasus Health in Christchurch last week awarded scholarships to 21 culturally and linguistically diverse students studying towards a career in health.
CEO Mark Liddle says one aim of the scholarships is to encourage more Maori and Pacific students into the industry.
"There is certainly an opportunity there for more Pasifika-Maori health providers to be central to the care of their own communities," he says.
Liddle says he has seen an increase in Maori and Pacific students with different areas of interest.
"It used to be predominantly nurses and medical students but now we're beginning to see sociologists, psychologists and medical imaging."
Pegasus Health's scholarship programme has been running for 16 years. Liddle says there's been a rise in applicants and recipients over the last five years.
Joshua Leota studies psychology at the University of Canterbury and is one of six Maori and Pacific scholarship recipients.
The 25-year-old plans to become a clinical psychologist and help change the over-representation of Maori and Pacific people in suicide statistics.
"Mental illness is a big problem in our community so it's the best way I could help," he says.
Recipients of the 2017 Pegasus Health Pacific Scholarships: Joshua Leota (psychology and philosophy), Charlotte Fakahau (medicine), Suli Tuitaupe (nursing), Mosana Evagelia (medicine), Faamele Tuipulotu (psychology) and Brogan Maoate (medicine). Photo/ Supplied.