This programme uses theoretical and clinical learning experiences designed to educate and support Pacific students to become a New Zealand registered nurse, capable of working in a range of multicultural settings.

Programme outline

For over thirty years nursing has been a major programme at Whitireia. During this time, Whitireia has developed a reputation for producing work-ready graduates who are highly regarded by industry.

Whitireia offers applicants the choice of three Bachelor of Nursing Degrees, all of which are approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and meet the Nursing Council of New Zealand’s requirements for registration. These are the Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing Māori and Bachelor of Nursing Pacific.

All are three-year full-time programmes and offer a combination of theory i.e. classroom-based sessions at our Porirua campus and supported clinical experience, which is practical/hands-on work completed in a variety of community and hospital settings.

More detail  about this qualification

Year one: Fakavae (Tokelau term of Fakavae, which refers to the concept of foundation)

The student will have the opportunity to gain insight into their own Pacific identity, by introducing them to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Pacific worldviews, and values and models in the context of Aotearoa. The students will acquire core communication skills and foundational nursing skills which they will demonstrate in a diverse range of clinical and cultural learning environments that cover lifespan.

Year two: Faiā (Samoan term which signifies upholding respectful relationships)

Year 2 will build on the foundational knowledge and skills acquired in year one, by displaying the beginning attributes of nursing praxis, such as; effective communication, self-reflection and ability to interpret and make meaning from interactions with others across a variety of health care settings. At a beginning level, using reflection and critical thinking, the student can facilitate decision making in response to interpretation from a Nurse context.

Year three: Turanga Neti (Cook Island: Neti is nurse and Turanga refers to the positions, status and responsibilities of the nursing profession)

By year 3, the student is able to demonstrate that they are successfully transitioning out of their ‘student role’ and into the role of the beginning practitioner. They will confidently be able to move between their Pacific communities and the world of non-Pacific health care services in ways that add value to both. The year 3 student has become proficient in their ability to integrate nursing knowledge into professional practice. This includes the capability to demonstrate sound judgement, decision making, reflection, evaluation, professional conduct and best practice as a beginning nurse clinician.

On successful completion of this programme graduates receive the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific, are eligible to sit the Nursing Council State Finals, and can apply to enrol in postgraduate programmes of study.

Teaching and learning

Theory hours at Whitireia are usually 9.00am-4.00pm during theory weeks. The programmes each have a different non-teaching day. A variety of teaching processes are used in the programme including lectures, tutorials, learning packages, workshops, student presentations, online learning and practical sessions in the simulation suites where ‘hands-on’ skills are learnt and practiced. If there are no timetabled classes, students are expected to utilise this time working in study teams or on independent study. Students will also be required to complete independent study and work on assignments during weekends and term breaks.

The programme's non-teaching day is Wednesday. However please note that students may be required to attend tutorials, lectures and exams on some Wednesdays. 


To gain a Bachelor of Nursing Degree, students must complete a minimum of 1,100 hours of clinical experience (praxis). We are proud of the excellent working partnerships we have with our clinical providers, which include both the Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast District Health Boards and private, iwi and community organisations. Their assistance enables us to provide students with a variety of high-quality clinical placements, which allows students to experience the range of opportunities available as a registered nurse.

In year 1, students learn clinical skills in our simulation suites (which are set up like hospital wards), as well as attending off-site clinical experiences in rest homes and the community.

In years 2 & 3, students will have 14–16 clinical weeks each year; these are divided into blocks of between 3–9 weeks. Please note these clinical weeks may include weekends. Hours during clinical blocks will vary according to the clinical placement, i.e. hospital shifts can include mornings 7:00am–3:30pm, afternoons 2:45–11:15pm and overnight. During clinical, students must be available Monday-Friday.

Career options

Our Bachelor of Nursing qualifications enable graduates to work as a beginning staff nurse in all areas where registered nurses are employed, both nationally and internationally.

Nurses are present across the entire spectrum of health-service delivery and, with over 40,000 registered; they are the largest part of the professional health workforce. The most common image of the nurse is in a hospital ward or general practice but, nurses are found in much wider range of health and disability services settings.

There is a nurse at work in child-health services, residential-care facilities, mental-health services, community services, marae, independent-nurse clinics, public-health services, occupational health and safety, the defence forces, sexual-health services, ACC case management, prisons, policy development and implementation, health-service management, education and research – as well as in many other settings.

Becoming a registered nurse

Students who successfully complete a Bachelor of Nursing programme are required to sit the Nursing Council of New Zealand State Final Examinations. When these examinations are passed, the student applies to Nursing Council for registration as a Registered Nurse.

Future opportunities

On becoming a registered nurse, most graduates apply for new graduate programmes, which are run by many of the District Health Boards throughout New Zealand. Many graduates will also go on to complete postgraduate studies in nursing specialties i.e. Mental Health Nursing, Hospice Palliative Care and Primary Health Care. Some graduates will travel overseas, where a Bachelor of Nursing Degree from New Zealand is internationally recognised.

Course-related costs

  • Health screening: $250* (must be completed prior to programme start)
  • Medical equipment: $160* (must be ordered prior to programme start)
  • Uniform: $200* (must be ordered prior to programme start)
  • Vaccinations (if required by clinical placement): Costs will vary depending on vaccination required i.e. flu, whooping cough
  • Stationary: $200*
  • Clinical Travel Costs: $200-$300 (Year One), $900-$1,200 (Year Two), $1,200-$1,600 (Year Three)*

*Confirmed 2022 costs and instructions of how to arrange vaccinations, order uniform etc. will be available on the School of Health Moodle link in September.

Entry requirements

Applicants must meet both the academic and suitability entry requirements.

Academic entry requirements

Whitireia degree academic entry requirements (i.e. University Entrance) or equivalent.

Evidence of equivalence may include successful completion of high school studies overseas or recent tertiary study at Level 4, with a “B” average, and/or relevant work experience (paid or unpaid); application considered on a case-by-case basis with entry granted at the discretion of the Head of School.

International students

Proven equivalence to entry requirements plus IELTS 6.5 in each band

Suitability requirements

Applications will be invited to attend an interview to determine the applicant’s preparedness for study and ability to meet the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (if applicable), as well as any registration board requirements, in terms of being fit for registration. Applicants must be able to demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Effective interpersonal communication skills
  • Understanding of, and capability to, work in the professional health and social services sector
  • Commitment and motivation to succeed

Suitability will also be assessed with reference to the applicant’s health screening, safety check* and referee reports.

*Safety Check: The Children’s Act (2014) requires all students, who may work with children during the course of their study, to be safety checked. Safety checking includes: reference checking, work history, identity check, police vet and an overall assessment of the applicant’s safety to work with children.

How to apply

Application Closing Date: 29 October 2021

Applications received after this date will only be processed if places are still available.

We recommend you apply online from the Whitireia website.

Before you start your online application, you will need to have the following documentation available to upload when requested:

Give the referee report to someone who is willing to be your referee. Ask them to complete the forms and either return to yourself (so you can upload with your application), or scan and email to within 10 days. 

Alternatively, completed applications can be printed off and:

Dropped into:

Enrolments, Whitireia New Zealand

3 Wi Neera Drive, Porirua

Application process
  • We will confirm receipt of your application by email.
  • Completed applications will be forwarded to the School to review.  If your application is incomplete, you will be emailed and asked to provide the missing documentation.
  • Applications are processed in order by date received.  Occasionally, due to demand, all places in a programme may be allocated before the programme closing date.  We recommend you apply early and ensure your application is complete.
  • Applicants will be interviewed.
Credit recognition

If you have relevant skills and knowledge through study or experiences in work or other activities, you may be able to receive credit for them when enrolling in a programme of study. This is done through a process called credit recognition. Credit recognition may not exceed two-thirds of your chosen programme.

If you think you may qualify for credit recognition, please contact one of our Enrolment Advisors.

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