Immediate Release
21 April 2021

Māori Health Authority – Once in a Generation Opportunity

Finally Māori Get to Hold the Pen

National Urban Māori Authority chair Lady Tureiti Moxon and CEO John Tamihere have applauded Health Minister Andrew Little for having the courage to finally set Māori health on a long overdue road to recovery.

This morning’s announcement that a stand-alone Māori Health Authority would be operational by 2022 was the shot in the arm needed for Māori to finally get equity of health care.

A Māori Health Authority was first mooted before the Waitangi Tribunal then subsequently featured in Heather Simpson’s review of the health system.

Little’s announcement, along with a number of other health recommendations, means a by Māori for Māori to Māori approach may finally be realised.

“The Māori Health Authority was born out of our decades long Waitangi Tribunal claim thanks to the kaha of those who chose to stand up for our people against the might of the DHBs and the Ministry of Health,” Lady Tureiti said.

She wished to acknowledge the Wai1315 claimants Hakopa Paul, Janice Kuka (Ngā Maatapuna Oranga) and Taitimu Maipi (Waikato-Tainui Kaumātua representing Waahi Pa, Papakura Marae and Raukura Hauora O Tainui).

“Māori finally get to hold the pen to determine health outcomes for our own people.”

The government’s choice to go beyond the Health and Disability System Review Report recommendations to give greater expression to tino Rangatiratanga is principled according to the NUMA leaders.

“The devil will be in the detail though and the money must follow the Māori. It cannot be a ‘by Pākehā to Māori’ model,” Tamihere said.

“But this is a once in a generation opportunity and Minister Little must be congratulated for leading this historic piece of work.”

“But once we get a look under the hood, we will have a much clearer understanding of how this will operate,” he said.

The reform reinforces both the recommendations made by the historic 2019 Hauora Report by the Waitangi Tribunal and the aptitude of Māori health leadership in the sector.

Lady Tureiti is comfortable with the idea of Māori having greater decision-making power although recognises that a lot more work needs to be done to pull it together over the next twelve months.

In February Lady Tureiti and other Wai1315 claimants filed a historic Joint Memorandum with the Crown detailing the terms of reference for an independent Māori Health Authority.

Core design principles determined by the group on the proposed framework covered operational independence, adequate and enduring funding and ‘mana motuhake’ – Māori control over health and wellbeing including service design, delivery and monitoring.

“Mana motuhake (independence) in the form of a Māori Health Authority is paramount and it must have teeth so we achieve equitable outcomes for our people and save lives.”

Media: Sarah Sparks 021318813