Philippine Ambassador host acknowledgement and appreciation dinner for Filipino nurses in Wellington, New Zealand
As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out and be one with the Filipino community, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez hosted a dinner for Filipino nurses for their valuable and inestimable contributions to the health system of New Zealand on 25 March 2015 at “Ang Bahay” (Ambassador’s Official Residence). Nearly 60 nurses from the Filipino community from different parts of the North Island attended the event. Ambassador Benavidez invited Professor Annette Huntington, Head of the School of Nursing, College of Health, Massey University to be the guest speaker. Guests from Massey University also included Ms. Anne Marie Ngan, Programme Coordinator and Professor of Education, Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE), Mr. Thomas Gorte, Senior Clinical Director, and Ms. Jean Gilmour, Associate Professor and Head of Postgraduate Nurses.
Minister and Consul General Arlene Macaisa opened the event and Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Q. Obach led the opening prayer. Ambassador Benavidez warmly welcomed everyone to “Ang Bahay” where Filipino ambience, atmosphere and furnishings reflect the warmth of friendship and the renowned hospitality of the Filipino people and thanked them for taking time and travelling from different places from the Upper and Lower Hutt, Palmerston North, Kapiti Coast, Levin and Wellington to be part of the event. In her remarks, Ambassador Benavidez extolled the importance of Filipino nurses in the New Zealand health system. She stated that they are known for their caring, commitment, compassion, devotion to duty, hard work, sacrificial attitude, and skills. She encouraged Filipino nurses to come together in unity and solidarity for their common good and the advancement of their profession as they work and stay in New Zealand to promote greater awareness, understanding and engagement with the Filipino community, project the Philippines as home to world class talents and highlights the globally renowned recognition for Filipino nurses.Ambassador Benavidez also provided the Filipino nurses with a briefing on the upcoming events of the Embassy such as the Gala performance of the Loboc Children’s Choir on 12 June 2015, the Philippine Festival in Petone on 25 April 2015 and the Filipino gathering at the Filipino Community Centre on 3 May 2015 to watch the Pacquiao-Mayweather boxing fight and encouraged them to support the said activities.
As the guest speaker, Professor Huntington stated that a census of foreign nurses in New Zealand is taken every two years and that, as of 2013, there are 2,534 Filipino nurses registered and working in the country. She said that the numbers have definitely grown since 2013. Professor Huntington expounded on the importance of Filipino nurses in the New Zealand health system stating that she is amazed at their strength and indomitable spirit that enable them to uproot themselves and move to a foreign country to work. She praised their skills, caring, and compassion as nurses and encouraged them to promote collaborative efforts among Filipino nurses working in Wellington and other parts of New Zealand to continue upskilling, training and capacity building in order to address the welfare and well-being of its members.
Ms. Ma. Nieva Lim, a Filipino community leader and organizer of Pinoynurses NZ in Wellington, also addressed the Filipino nurses gathered at “Ang Bahay” thanking Ambassador Benavidez and Professor Huntington on behalf of Filipino nurses for acknowledging their contributions to New Zealand healthcare and giving importance to their profession.
The good rapport, keen interest and active interaction among the members of the guests continued during the enjoyable evening of fellowship and partaking of special “Ang Bahay” cuisine and distinctive Filipiniana experience.
With the excitement, inspiration, recognition and appreciation given to Filipino nurses by the Philippine Embassy and Massey University, similar events will be hosted in the near future to enable more Filipino nurses from different parts of Greater Wellington to be acknowledged for their invaluable contributions.