Long-serving New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Board member Kim Gosman has been named Health Volunteer of the Year and Individual Maori Health Volunteer of the Year. The 2018 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards were presented on June 18, during National Volunteer Week, at the Grand Hall Parliament. Network Chief Executive Dalton Kelly said the awards were well-deserved recognition of Kim’s hard work and dedication to the health sector over many years.
“The Network and the rural health sector is extremely fortunate to have had Kim’s enthusiasm, expertise and drive over many years and I congratulate her on receiving these awards.” Kim is the Network Board’s Southern North Island representative. She said receiving the awards was “just overwhelming”.
“You do these things [volunteer work] because you really believe in what you are doing and because of the benefits it’s going to bring people in the long run and you don’t expect this kind of thing.” Kim says she always found it a challenge to draw a line between paid and unpaid work, especially around mothers and babies. “What do you do? Do you stop what you are doing?” She says there are a huge range of volunteers in the sector doing “amazing things and it’s great they get this sort of recognition”.
Kim has been involved in voluntary work in the health sector since 1974, initially in Porirua and then in Turangi. Over that time she has been a strong advocate and voice of the health and wellbeing of people within her community, at both a governance and clinical level. Originally from a nursing background, her voluntary work has included maternity services, marae-based ear health clinics, and extended and improved development of a wide range of health services. She is described by Lakes District Health Board as being a champion of improving Māori health outcomes and reducing inequalities.
In 2005 Kim was co-opted to work with the Network Board in a voluntary capacity. Between 2005 and 2008 a focus was preparing the Network for nurses to become equal partners and members. Kim was an elected member of the Board from 2009 to 2014 during which time she supported the Board to implement a relationship with Iwi/Maori across the country. During 2014-15 Kim was made an Honorary Board member. She was re-elected to the Board in 2016. Other offices held include trustee NZ Institute of Rural Health, Iwi/Maori Councils, Lakes and Waikato District Health Boards and Lake Taupo Hospice. Other past positions include inaugural Vice President of the College of Nurses Aotearoa for five years, foundation member of the Kaunihera O Neehi Maori, Secretary, Hutt Valley New Zealand Nurses Association, Nurse Director of Rural Health, North Island.
Kim has also worked with the communities of National Park, Ohakune, Raetihi, Taumarunui and the people of the Whanganui River, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tūwharetoa.