Tē Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu welcomes health system changes

Apr 21, 2021

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is welcoming the announcement this morning of a radical shake-up of the country’s health system.

The changes announced by Minister of Health Hon. Andrew Little include replacing the 20 district health boards with one new centralised body, Health NZ.

Additionally, the Government will work with Māori on the design of the Māori Health Authority alongside a range of other features of our future health system, such as how Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards are established and will operate and define their own rohe.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Chief Executive Officer Arihia Bennett says, “we know the current health system is simply not working for Māori, so the prospect of a Māori Health Authority and a new approach, designed by Māori for Māori, is truly exciting. A Māori led approach that gives true effect to our tino rangatiratanga is critical if we are to achieve better hauora outcomes for our whānau.

“This move towards tino rangatiratanga is aligned to our own strategic direction as Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and it is important that we balance the need for a centralised system with the enablement of strong local decision making. Growing strong, self-sufficient regions is central to our tribal vision and we want to ensure that is not lost with any changes that are introduced.” Bennett says.

An interim Māori Health Authority will be set up as a departmental agency within the Ministry of Health by the end of 2021. At the same time, the government will accelerate developing the locality model of primary and community care in certain areas, some of which will take an approach centred on kaupapa Māori care.

“We look forward to actively engaging with the Crown and other stakeholders to ensure there is a strong Ngāi Tahu voice in the design of this new health system within our takiwā.” Bennett says.