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Weaving an environment for a better future

Wayne SHUM KUEN IP and his family

Wayne and his family at his grandfather's funeral in December 2021. From left to right: Wayne, youngest son William, wife Laury, youngest daughter Payton, eldest daughter Paris and her partner Alex, and eldest son Waylon.

Wayne SHUM KUEN IP and his parents

Wayne and his mother Lalofau and father Viliamu.


Wayne before his first clinical placement in November 2021.

Wayne SHUM KUEN IP and wife Laury

Wayne and his "beautiful and strong" wife Laury.

Master of Clinical Practice (Nursing) student Wayne SHUM KUEN IP wants to give back. The father of four returned to study to become a registered nurse at the age of 44, after seeing a cultural gap in the healthcare sector, fueling his passion for giving back to his own culture.

Massey’s two-year graduate entry to nursing qualification enables people with any existing degree to switch career paths and become a registered nurse. It provided the perfect opportunity for Wayne to steer his career in to a more fulfilling pathway.

“I currently work in the healthcare environment and I saw a need for others like me, mature, Samoan, male, to join the nursing workforce to help others, especially the Pacific community both here in New Zealand and overseas in places like Samoa.

“I wanted to become a nurse because there was a shortage of male, Pacific nurses in the mental health area, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacific communities were misled in relation to what was occurring locally and internationally.”

Born to Samoan parents, and with ancestors from China, Wayne started life in Masterton, but moved to Auckland at a young age for his schooling years, and also lived in Sydney as an adult. Now back in West Auckland with his wife Laury, their children ranging from 11-21 years, and two dogs, he’s working in the Waiatarau Inpatient Mental Health Unit at Waitakere Hospital, as a unit and healthcare assistant.

“As Unit Assistant, I ensure the daily operation of the unit is going smoothly. For example, if there is a blocked toilet or light not working, I call a plumber or electrician in to fix it. As a Healthcare Assistant, I help nurses and staff members with the daily care of patients in the unit, serving meals and helping patients with activities.”

Wayne gained university entrance when he graduated from Massey High School but after a short stint studying mechanical engineering at AUT, he didn’t feel university was right for him.

“Then I met my now wife and we started our family and I never thought I would return to study again. I was always working long hours and used to work two jobs, just like my parents who came to New Zealand from Samoa in search of a better life, while my wife was at home with the children.

“Laury decided to go back to university. She gained her diploma, then her bachelor's degree and eventually her masters. This inspired me to get back into study again so in 2009, I completed my Pharmacy Technician Certificate while I was working for Auckland Hospital and Waitakere Hospital, and then went on to studying part-time towards my Information Technology (IT) degree.”

Wayne graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology, majoring in IT Service Science from AUT in 2018. While he had a passion for IT, with his work in healthcare, he saw how he could help the Pacific community more if he continued his education.

He chose Massey because it allowed him to work full-time while studying, and a colleague had mentioned the course was available to students who already had a degree.

“It is never too late to go back to school and if you enjoy what you're learning it doesn't seem like hard work. I also wanted to be a good role model for my children who were nearing the end of high school, so they knew they had options of furthering their education if that is what they wanted.

“I think as a Samoan, there are so many barriers to furthering our education such as family expectations, parents who don't always understand the importance of university education, teachers who expect less from us based on false stereotypes, working to survive instead of furthering your education, family commitments because we are raised to put family first, religious commitments and financial commitments. I am passionate about showing others that these barriers can be broken down, and you can do whatever you want to in life,” he adds.

“There's a Samoan proverb I heard recently which is, ‘Lalaga Le Siosiomaga, Mo Se Lumanai Manuia’ It means ‘Weave an environment for a better future’. That really struck a chord with me.”

Wayne would like to take his experience and qualifications back to Samoa. “I would love to set up a clinic where I can treat and teach the community options to adapt and develop better health outcomes and lifestyle choices. Rebuild and help my family, village and Samoa. I would also like to learn more about my Samoan culture. It’s time for me to give a little bit back.”

Read more about the Master of Clinical Practice (Nursing) here.

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