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Transplant hui first to be held in Hawke’s Bay

4 October 2019

For the first time in New Zealand, a transplant hui, to better inform Māori healthcare providers and influencers about organ donation, is to be held in Hawke’s Bay to support patients/whānau who face transplant conversations, or the receiving of a deceased organ.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board transplant coordinator Merryn Jones, who is of Ngāti Rakaipaaka descent, spearheaded the hui, which has gained national industry attention.

Ms Jones says organ donation is an issue that disproportionately affects Māori due to many barriers which she believes could be overcome with better education and awareness.

“There are many barriers to transplant for patients with end stage renal disease that result in lower kidney transplant rates for Māori, compared with NZ Europeans.

“Cultural values, concern for wellbeing of potential donors, genetic issues within families, access to primary care, distrust of the medical system, poor health literacy, or financial problems to getting care, are just some of the barriers,” said Ms Jones.

Data from the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA) also showed “disturbing statistics” that painted a picture of inequity in accessing healthcare, she said.

“Māori represent nearly 79 per cent of the dialysis population in Hawke’s Bay and yet, of the 187 kidney transplants in New Zealand in 2017, only 23 (12.3%) of the recipients were Māori.

“The data also found that NZ Europeans were 4-8 times more likely to receive a transplant before needing dialysis (pre-emptive) than a non-European. Added to this, Māori have five times higher rates of renal failure compared with non-Māori, and two times higher rates of diabetes than non-Māori.”

Ms Jones said she hoped future statistics could be turned around by working more closely alongside Māori health services and influencers (i.e. Kaumatua).

“The hui is open to all – health providers and community support workers from post-Treaty organisations and Iwi groups, to Kaitakawaenga and Kaumatua who provide advice and support.

“We will explore Māori perspectives about organ donation and transplant. The hui will be strongly story-based, with people sharing their lived experience of transplant, and those who work in the field, providing information for everyone.

“It will generate discussion and provide information for health workers and support people to address some of the misinformation out there about transplants.”

The hui is free to attend and will be held at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, 821 Orchard Road, Hastings on 16 October from 8:30 to 4pm. The hui is limited to 150 people.

Registrations can be made by emailing


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