Irihapeti Ramsden

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Irihapeti Ramsden, ONZM

Ngāi Tahupōtiki, Rangitāne

Dr Irihapeti Ramsden was an anthropologist, nurse and nursing educator who brought about a revolution in the way the health system considers the cultural context of the patients it serves.

In the 1980's Dr Ramsden developed Kawa Whakaruruhau or Cultural Safety in Nursing Education, which was groundbreaking and stirred up controversy. It required the sector to consider Māori and other cultural identities that a patient brings with them as they access health services. These cultures include the culture of poverty, gender, sexual orientation or social class.

Today, many of Dr Ramsden’s recommendations have been legislated into nursing and midwifery education and adopted by other professions and movements across Aotearoa and internationally. 

Irihapeti Ramsden was also a member of the feminist Spiral Collective who published Keri Hulme's Booker-Prize-winning novel, The Bone People, in 1984, when mainstream publishers turned it down.

When Dr Ramsden passed away from cancer aged only 57, her loss was mourned by Dame Tariana Turia, who noted: "She had an astute mind, a vibrant personality and a warm and gentle style. She was an outstanding communicator – she was able to say difficult things that needed to be said, with such understanding that you couldn’t really take offence".

In this radio interview from 1993 Irihapeti explains what is meant by 'cultural safety.'

Listen to the full interview with Dr Irihapeti Ramsden. 

Find out more about Dr Irihapeti Ramsden:

Read Irihapeti Ramsden's PhD thesis on cultural safety

Read Dame Tariana Turia's poroporoaki to Irihapeti Ramsden.

Image: Irihapeti Ramsden, courtesy WHS Alumni.

Catalogue Reference 42277

Year 1993


Interviewer: Hēnare Te Ua, Te Puna Wai Kōrero, RNZ National

Excerpt: 0:02:00

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