Daniel Mataafa (pictured) was lost for words when he learned he was the 2021 recipient of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s (NZNO’s) annual Young Nurse of the Year Award.
Of Samoan descent, the 29-year-old is the Regional Pacific Nurse Case Manager based at Middlemore Hospital, in South Auckland.
He says when he got the call from NZNO he needed to take his break at work early, to let it all sink in.
“I was speechless... I feel really honoured, but deep down I know any of the nominees deserve it too.”
Daniel received the award at the NZNO online Annual General Meeting in mid-September, and says he is proud of being able to build resilience and adapt to carry on doing the work he does.
He also highlights he is grateful to work alongside such a good team of people.
“Among them I’m supported to keep developing myself so I in turn can offer the best support and care I can to my community here.”
Daniel’s nominator, Senior Programme Manager for the Regional Pacific Unit at Counties Manukau DHB Michelle Nicholson-Burr says he has earned a reputation for providing outstanding, holistic care.
“He works tirelessly to ensure every patient, staff and carer interaction meets Te Tiriti principles,” Michelle says
“He goes above and beyond what was expected in order to ensure patient journeys are seamless, respectful and safe.”
She adds she has witnessed nursing professionalism of a standard she has not seen in such a young nurse and applauds Daniel for his courage and resilience in breaking through the stigma of being a Samoan male nurse and using his experience to support other young Pacific men.
Daniel was selected for the award from 20 nominations.
The judging panel consisted of Margie Apa representing all District Health Boards, the NZNO Kaiwhakahaere, Chief Executive and nursing staff, NZNO Nursing Education Research Foundation member Melinda Jordan and 2020 winner Kelly Talbot.