Concerns grow over MAPAS review

The Paediatric Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) has expressed concern over the government’s decision to review the Māori and Pacific Admission Scheme (MAPAS).

Dr Simone Watkins, a Samoan paediatric doctor and PSNZ member, says the scheme has been instrumental in addressing the underrepresentation of Māori and Pacific individuals in the healthcare sector and enhancing health outcomes for these communities.

“I think the review is a waste of resources and personnel,” she says.

Established in 1972, MAPAS provides academic and pastoral support for Māori and Pasifika health science students

“They have a lower cut-off for their GPA or average academic scores and then they also give extra support to ensure the success of our Māori and Pasifika candidates through medical school so that they can be successful doctors.”

“Getting rid of all of those things is going to impact the future generations and the future generations of our healthcare system.”

She says PSNZ is uniquely positioned to highlight the talent this programme produces, “as our organisation’s president and other valuable members have been supported by the scheme”.

PSNZ is concerned about the potential implications of the government review of MAPAS in the coalition agreement between National and Act, and questions whether it’s an initial step to reduce funding or even move towards disestablishment.