PMA Scholarships 2021: Nurse hopes that students seize the opportunities before them

Pacific nursing leader Mr Abel Smith is hoping that the recipient of the new Pacific Medical Association (PMA) Nursing Scholarship, named in his honour, will pay it forward and support other emerging Pacific health professionals.

Valued at $10,000, the Abel Smith Nursing Scholarship is awarded to an indigenous Pacific nursing student undertaking studies at an approved NZQA accredited tertiary provider in New Zealand.

“Whoever the recipient will be, they will have this amazing opportunity. I hope in return they will pay it forward and give someone else a helping hand through mentorship or being a champion for students in the future.”

Mr Smith, who is a PMA Members executive board member and is currently the Director of Nursing (Pacific) at the Auckland District Health Board, says it is an honour and a privilege to have a PMA nursing scholarship in his name.

“I’m very passionate about the nursing and midwifery workforce. The cost of going through the training, coupled with living and other associated expenses, can be a barrier that can lead to huge stumbling blocks for our Pacific students.

Having a scholarship allows some leeway. It makes the student journey more bearable and easier to navigate.”

Mr Smith immigrated to New Zealand twenty years ago after graduating from the Fiji School of Nursing in 1986 and working as a nurse in Fiji.

He holds many positions of service in nursing and health. This includes the President of the Fiji Nurses Association NZ, Treasurer of the Pacific Nurses Section, Programme monitor for the Bachelor of Nursing programme for the NZ Nursing Council and Chair of the Manukau Institution of Technology Pacific Nursing Advisory Committee.

After completing his training in nursing, Mr Smith embarked on further education, studying towards his masters and then PhD. He is an advocate for higher education and encourages Pacific students to seize their opportunities.

“These options and pathways were never offered to me when I started my nursing training. I hope that our future Pacific nurses and midwives make the most of what is available to them.”

To apply for the Abel Smith Nursing Scholarship and other PMA Scholarships on, please visit the link below. Please note that all PMA Scholarship applications close this FRIDAY 25 JUNE so get in quick!


Date: Monday 21 June 2021