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Māori Health Leads appointed

Congratulations to our Māori Health Leads who have been appointed across our directorates to ensure Māori voices are heard, embedded in plans and services, and that health equity is non-negotiable.

“I always say what’s good for Māori is good for everyone, just you wait and see.” Dame Naida Glavish

The roles provide strategic input and direction that will only improve the service we provide to our whānau and our community. “We are here as a Te Tiriti partner,” says Dr George Laking. “We have the same ambitions as everyone, to manaaki whānau throughout their care pathway journey. The only way to do that is to ensure the right policies and people are in place.”

The Māori Health Lead appointments include Gwendoline Wellburn, Clinical Support, Kitiona Leota-Ashby, Clinical Support, Jack Hill, Perioperative, Tui Blair, Patient Management Services, Willy Bhana, Cardiovascular and Dr George Laking, Cancer and Blood; with more to follow.

“The journey starts with ensuring we have the necessary leadership talents and associated skills to achieve our goals built into the directorate,” says Director of Māori Health, Anthony Hawke. “Our organisation will be in a position to appropriately explore opportunities for growth and innovation, designing responses which support us to achieve equitable health outcomes that society expects of us.”


A collaborative advantage and high trust alliances are key to the future success of us all. In Aotearoa, we refer to this as whakawhanaungatanga.

The ability to create and sustain meaningful partnerships is important to our organisation and the people we serve.

The appointment of Māori Health Leads to work alongside our directorship means that a Māori perspective is included in all decision making. “We are working together to provide care and find new ways of shaping a health system that’s specific to the communities we serve,” says Mr Hawke. “This partnership is key to how we face challenges and optimise opportunities. Our people are our greatest strength and the appointment of Māori Health Leads enhances how we plan to grow as a service and as a centre for community wellbeing.”

Tikanga Best Practise Guidelines have been long established and the Māori Health Leads are governed by a set of policy statements and strategic plans that have been endorsed by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, to ensure their work is responsive to the wishes of the Auckland DHB partner.

Mr Hawke says “Whereas the Māori Health Lead is part of the directorate, and an integral part of the directorate leadership team, they are also accountable to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua and Dame Naida Glavish, who represents Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Director of Provider Services, Mike Shepherd, sees the appointments as a positive move, helping to progress our strategic objectives around Te Tiriti and equity. “The Covid pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to ensure a Te Tiriti perspective and equity were part of our decision-making COVID-19 IMT,” he says. “Our next steps are not to squander those insights and embed this way of working as we move forward.”

Good for everyone

Chief Advisor of Tikanga, Dame Naida Glavish, has served Auckland DHB for 32-years, and knows this is long overdue. “The purpose of these positions is to provide robust direction and guidance in order to accelerate Māori health outcomes and uphold Te Tiriti obligations,” says Dame Naida. “Māori health outcomes are well below what we should expect. These positions are one part of a journey where we want our people to thrive.”

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