At CMFnz, we are committed to supporting medical students and doctors to grow personally and professionally in Christian faith and expression. While both the local church and the medical profession provide invaluable support, we have identified a unique need for additional mentoring support in living out our Christian faith within the medical context.

Tuakana Support is an initiative designed to provide this support through safe mentoring relationships between students and doctors. In Māori culture, a key to learning and growth is the tuakana-teina relationship, where an older sibling, tuakana, supports and guides the younger sibling, teina. It is built on relationships and two-way conversations rather than a directive approach by the more experienced.

All CMFnz members from pre-clinical student years through to specialists are welcome to participate as mentees or mentors in 2024.

How does Tuakana Support differ from typical mentoring?
Tuakana Support is based on the tuakana-teina relationships seen in Te Ao Māori. ‘Tuakana-teina' literally means ‘older sibling-younger sibling’ and is not hierarchical. Tuakana and teina can both learn from each other as they share experiences and knowledge, rather than merely passing on information. It is our prayer that you will both be encouraged to live out your faith in your workplaces with each other’s support and prayers.

What are the requirements to sign up as Tuakana and/or Teina?
There are only small requirements to sign up as tuakana or teina. You need to be a CMFnz member, which is open for all Christian medical students and doctors in New Zealand. If you are not yet a member, please register here, and the membership is free for students!

For tuakana, we require names and phone numbers of your local church pastor and a member of CMFnz who support your decision to become a mentor. This is to ensure that you are a Christian of good standing.

You may sign up to be both tuakana and teina if you would like and have the time capacity.

How are the tuakana and teina connected?
We will match tuakana and teina prayerfully taking into account your location, gender, specialty interest, and other expressed preferences. If you know of someone you would like to be connected with, or want to continue your match from 2023, please let us know when you register.

How should we spend our time together?
CMFnz provides resources and guidelines to shape how you spend time together, but there is plenty of flexibility. For some, it may be a time to share challenges or frustrations and bring these together in prayer before the Lord. To others, it may look like a structured Bible study or reading through and discussing books related to faith and medicine.

We recommend that prayer is a necessary part of each meeting, and we encourage each of you to be reading scripture regularly, either as part of your time meeting together or individually.


What is the extent of the Tuakana Support commitment?
The commitment is just for 2024. Over that time, we recommend that you pray for each other weekly, and make contact once every 1-2 months (e.g. in person, Zoom, phone call).

What if I find it difficult to connect or relate to my tuakana or teina?
We recognise the importance of relationship for Tuakana Support to work well, which depends on many factors (such as different temperament, interests, goals, conflict of interest etc). If the relationship is not working out for whatever reason at any point in time, please discuss with the coordinator for Tuakana Support via [email protected], who can make an effort to connect you with someone else.

In order to make it easier to voice that the relationship is not working, we suggest that each pair discusses this and decide to commit to the relationship for the year by the third meeting. May God be present as you gently and respectfully discuss this with each other. And remember, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you fail in any way!

Who do I contact if I have other questions?
As you participate in Tuakana Support, you may have unexpected questions to ask someone who is more experienced in mentoring. If this is the case, get in touch with us at [email protected] and we will do our best to support you.

Please note:
Tuakana Support exists to assist members in building faith-based collegial networks. Guidance from tuakana/mentor is offered from a personal point of view and does not necessarily represent CMFnz’s position.


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