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Advocate and Researcher for Maori Health Retires


Leading Advocate and Researcher for Maori Health Retires

Leading advocate and researcher for Maori health issues, Professor Colin Mantell, is retiring as head of the department of Maori and Pacific Health at The University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Faculty Dean Professor Peter Smith says Professor Mantell is one of the pioneers of Maori and Pacific health teaching and research. In particular he was instrumental in establishing the Maori and Pacific Access Scheme that introduced many Maori and Pacific young people to careers in the Health professions.

“Professor Mantell recognised early on the need to identify and investigate the health needs of Maori and Pacific people and has headed the department since it was established in 1996. During that time he oversaw the development of active research programmes focussing on health issues affecting these two groups, and his efforts laid the foundation for much of the work now being done by the Faculty to address the specific health needs of these communities.”

Previously Professor Mantell was head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University.

A valedictory ceremony honouring Professor Mantell’s 22 years of service is being held at 6-pm on Friday February 25th in the Robb Lecture Theatre at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in Grafton.

The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, will attend and speak at the function.

Professor Mantell, who is of Ngai Tahu descent, has had a lengthy career, working both as a clinician and researcher, focussing primarily on obstetrics.

He received his initial medical training in the early 1960s at the University of Otago and The University of Auckland and began his career as a registrar at National Women’s Hospital.

During the early 1970s he was a research fellow at the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research at Oxford in England, while also working as a registrar at the Institute.

He gained his PhD in 1983, following extensive research into fetal breathing in humans.

He was appointed head of the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of Auckland in 1988, and established the Centre for Reproductive Research.

In the mid 1990s he moved to Middlemore Hospital where he was an obstetrician and clinical director of Child and Women’s Health, and Maori and Pacific Island Health.

Professor Mantell has also been involved in other key roles at the University, chairing the Maori Advisory Council to the Vice-Chancellor from 1983 to 1987, and founding and

chairing the Maori and Pacific Admissions Scheme, known as MAPAS, for the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences since 1974.

In 2002 he was appointed Tumuaki (Maori dean) for the Faculty.

Professor Mantell also served on the Health Research Council, chairing its Maori research committee for several years. He was a member of the Auckland District Maori Council for many years and is currently chairman of the Ministry of Health’s Maori Health Workforce Advisory Committee.


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