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College sets up Maori faculty

Media Statement

From the president of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners,

Dr Helen Rodenburg

Saturday, 28 September 2002

College sets up Maori faculty

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is the first medical professional body in the country to formally incorporate a Maori voice.

College members voted without dissent at a special general meeting in Rotorua to set up a Maori faculty, Te Akoranga a Maui. It was launched yesterday by associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia. With her was National MP Georgina Te Heu Heu and other members of Parliament.

During the College’s traditional Oration ceremony, Tolaga Bay GP Dr Paratene Ngata celebrated an historic moment for Maori doctors.

“It’s taken us 100 years to get here. It’s amazing” he said. “The College is the first professional organisation to take this step.

It’s a move Dr Ngata hopes will inspire young Maori to enter medicine – and specialise in general practice. His oration traced the path of the Maori GP from the first four before the beginning of the 20th century, through to the 70 Maori GPs in practice today.

College president Dr Helen Rodenburg said the move was more than the College working with its members to honour the commitments and relationships under the Treaty of Waitangi. “I was personally delighted at the support we received.”

Among those made a Fellow of the college was James Te Whare, one of the group instrumental in the formation of the new faculty.

The College also conferred its highest honour, Honorary Fellowship, on Philip Middleton Barham and Sydney Rae West.

With the help of the new faculty, the College aims to target its educational and professional development resources to boost Maori GP numbers and maintain the aim of improving the health of all New Zealanders.

Today is the last day of the College’s annual three-day conference.


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