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The Crown held to account over Māori Health

For Immediate Release
10 October 2018

The Crown held to account over Māori Health
Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry

The Wai Wai 1315 claimants representing Māori intend to hold the Crown to account over Māori health at Tūrangawaewae Marae before the Waitangi Tribunal starting 15 October.

They believe the legal merits to reform the national health system so it meets the needs of Māori are overwhelming and this health claim is of national significance.

Given the national statistics for Māori health, the group say the Crown has known for many years the National Health System fails Māori. They want Mana Māori Motuhake as a solution from the current regime.

“Currently Māori live shorter lives by 7 years compared to others, Māori are twice as likely to face discrimination in health, Māori are less likely to be referred for diagnostic tests, Māori children are over two and a half times as likely to have unfilled prescriptions due to cost and Māori are more than twice as likely to die from preventable diseases” says Lady Tureiti Moxon, Managing Director of Te Kōhao Health in Waikato, one of the claimants.

The group will be submitting evidence from Maori leaders through to academics showing why the Primary Healthcare framework does not serve Māori alongside where the solutions are for Māori who have a proven capacity and holistic methodologies for caring for their own.

Over the decades, the claimants have witnessed detrimental impacts to Māori caused by the health funding formulas by the Crown.

“Universalism in funding health means there is less focus on targeted interventions to help those with the greatest need - Māori. So this approach is in total conflict with the prevailing evidence of the state of Māori health,” says Janice Kuka, Chief Executive Officer, Ngā Maatapuna Oranga, Tauranga.

Witnesses presenting evidence before the Tribunal include an expert from a global delegation from Alaska that are indigenous pioneers in primary health care redesign, alongside many Māori leaders in the field involved health service delivery and management including former Cabinet Minister, John Tamihere and the original claimants from 2005 Lady Tureiti Moxon, Te Kōhao Health in Hamilton, Janice Kuka, Te Matapuna Oranga Primary Health Organisation in Tauranga and Hakopa Paul of Ngati Pikiao and Taitimu Maipi of Waikato-Tainui.

"We are honoured to have Ms Katherine Gottlieb, President and CEO of Southcentral Foundation present as expert witness to give evidence of their NUKA
System of Care that aligns with our future vision of the health system for Māori in this country. Our 20 year relationship has humbled me in what the Alaskans have achieved improving their health status and statistics using traditional healing methods and practices” says Kaumātua Taitimu Maipi, an original claimant.

The significance of the hearing on Tūrangawaewae Marae honours Princess Te Puea Herangi and her stance to build Mahinarangi as a hospital in memory when she cared for the sick and dying during the flu pandemic that occurred from October to December in 1918. The coincidence of the hearing date is not lost on the claimants given it echoes the same issue – that the health of Māori continues to be in crisis one Century later.

Judge Stephen Clark (Presiding Officer); Associate Professor Tom Roa, Tania Simpson, Dr Angela Ballara, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith
• Around 200 groups and individuals have taken claims to the Waitangi Tribunal about Māori health services and outcomes and the Waitangi Tribunal are hearing these as part of the WAI 2575 - the health kaupapa inquiry
• These 200 claims are varied and reveal a real complexity in the way the Crown has siloed, mistreated or ignored Māori health and wellbeing.

Leaders in Māori health care
• The Wai 1315 claimants are Tureiti Moxon (Te Kōhao Health / National Urban Māori Authority), Hakopa Paul, Piripi Hikairo (Te Manu Toroa / Ngā Mataapuna Oranga), Janice Kuka (Ngā Maatapuna Oranga) and Taitimu Maipi (Waikato-Tainui Kaumātua representing Waahi Pa, Papakura Marae and Raukura Hauora O Tainui).
• Legal counsel representing the claimants is Roimata Smail, Director of Smail Legal Ltd.

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