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Maori Health Authority Great For Whanau Ora

The Director for The Whanau Ora Community Clinic is pleased by this morning’s announcement of major reforms to the healthcare system, including the establishment of a long-awaited Māori Health Authority and believes that Whanau Ora should be considered as a way forward.

Director George Ngatai says that the announcement is great news for whānau Maori who for too long have experienced differential treatment, follow up, referrals and outcomes under mainstream health arrangements. It’s great to see that the new authority will be Māori-led and offer joint decision-making rights on national strategies, policies and plans that affect Māori.

Mr Ngatai said that the 7 years experience he had on the Counties Manukau District Health Board as an appointed board member gave him the opportunity to see first-hand how bureaucracy manages the health of his people. Having the opportunity to have an experienced Maori Health governance group with the authority to do everything that’s required to improve Maori Health and engagement is fantastic.

“The proof of the commitment will lie in the detail around the resourcing, the leadership and the accountability approach,” says Mr Ngatai. “We are hopeful that this morning’s announcement is a sign that change is on the horizon but it will rely on fulsome and frank dialogue across the Maori Health sector to get this right for Maori.” Mr Ngatai also said that those who would be part of this Authority should be balanced between expert Maori health advocates, Iwi participants and business experts.

Over the past seven years, The Whanau Ora Community Clinic network has set up more than 10 general practices from Kaeo in the North to Aranui in the South and has enrolled more than 45,000 patients predominantly Maori which he believes this Maori Health Authority would be of benefit.

Mr Ngatai says that it is crucial the Government also looks to the success of the Whānau Ora approach when designing and implementing the new Authority, to ensure that every whānau be included.

“We want to see universal consistency, which applies to access, quality of outcomes, coverage and reach,”

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