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Ceremony reaffirms partnership promoting Māori health

Thursday 18 May, 2017

Ceremony reaffirms partnership promoting Māori health

A longstanding partnership promoting Māori health across the Bay of Plenty has been reaffirmed in an official ceremony.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the continuing spirit of the relationship between the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Board and the Māori Health Rūnanga (representing the Bay’s 18 iwi) was signed yesterday (Wednesday 17 May). The signing ceremony took place at Te Puke’s Hei Marae.

Rūnanga Chair Punohu McCausland said the reaffirmation of an already strong relationship was a significant event.

“It is a significant event because it is a significant relationship,” she said. “As a Rūnanga we have direct participation and say in the strategic direction of the DHB, sitting alongside the Board. We get information directly from our iwi and then we, as delegates, bring that to the Board. It is a relationship which has been built up over many years and it is a great one.

“This is the only DHB that has a treaty relationship with just the iwi,” she added. “Other boards have relationships which include a broad range of providers, other bodies and organisations, but ours is clearly identifiable as solely iwi and it is representative from the east to the west of the Bay. Because of that we have forged a governance relationship and it is a very important thing.”

The Rūnanga meets monthly, has joint meetings with the BOPDHB Board every three months and, as Rūnanga Chair, Ms McCausland also participates in all BOPDHB Board meetings.

BOPDHB Board Chair Sally Webb said the MOU represented a commitment to working together for improved Māori health.

“We can’t make a difference working alone, if we’re going to make a difference in Māori health in the Bay of Plenty we need to work with the iwi to do that,” she said. “Signing this MOU is all about cementing that relationship with the 18 iwi, to continue working together so that we can all have healthy thriving communities.”

This is the third such agreement signed since 1989 added Mrs Webb, with each one building on its predecessor.

The spirit of togetherness was echoed by BOPDHB Chief Executive Helen Mason with a whakatauki she used during her speech.

“Ko koe ki tena; Ko ahau ki tenei kiwai o te kete - You at that handle and I at this handle of the basket.

“It’s about working together and sharing the load to improve the health of our Māori populations, and that is the essence of the relationship for me.”


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