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Minister welcomes new Maori Health Manager

26 September 2001 Media Statement

Minister welcomes new Maori Health Manager for National Screening Unit

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia today announced the appointment of Aroha Harris as the new Maori Health Screening Development Manager for the National Screening Unit (NSU).

Mrs Turia said the appointment of Ms Harris was an important milestone which would strengthen the Unit’s focus on encouraging Maori women to participate in the two national screening programmes – the National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) and BreastScreen Aotearoa.

“The Maori Health Screening Development Manager is a new role within the National Screening Unit responsible for developing specific policies for Maori women enrolled in the screening programmes,” Mrs Turia said.

“Although Maori women have been supportive of the cervical screening programme during its ten year history, they are one of the key groups that the NSU and programme providers are focusing on to increase participation. Maori women are also a key focus group for BreastScreen Aotearoa.

Ms Harris draws upon previous experience at a senior level in women’s health. She was formerly Maori Health Manager at National Women’s Hospital. Prior to that she was with the then Department of Child Youth and Family and was instrumental in establishing the Takapuna Maori Roopu for the Department. She has also worked within the area of children’s and adolescent’s mental health.

“Ms Harris also has a strong network within the Maori health sector, which will be important in her key role overseeing the Unit’s relationship with Maori health providers.

“The Government is committed to ensuring the national screening programmes are well resourced and managed and build on the progress made during the past two and a half years. As part of the implementation of the Gisborne Inquiry recommendations, Cabinet recently approved changes to the Health Act supporting the monitoring, evaluation and audit of the NCSP.

“A consultation process for Maori women and their whanau on the Kaitiaki regulations, which control access to Maori women’s data held on the NCSP Register, is currently being planned to take place early next year.”

Ms Harris will lead the NSU’s Maori Health Screening Development Team. The National Screening Unit is responsible for the management and co-ordination of the two national screening programmes and has been growing to its full size of 33 staff since its inception in March.


Biographical information:

Aroha Harris is of Ngati Whatua descent. Aroha is experienced working within the health sector, she has most recently worked in the area of Child and Adolescent Mental Health in South Auckland, before that she was a Maori health manager at National Women's Hospital. Aroha has also worked in the social services field and in the past was Acting Manager for the Takapuna Maori Roopu for the Department of Child Youth and Family.

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