Te Kawau Maro, Taranaki Maori Health Strategy Addresses Inequalities

10 December 2009

Taranaki District Health Board today endorsed a strategy to address the poor health status of Maori in Taranaki.

The board, with the endorsement of the iwi representative group Te Whare Punanga Korero (TWPK)  adopted Te Kawau Maro, Taranaki Maori Health Strategy.

The strategy is the result of many months of work between Taranaki DHB Maori Health team,  Maori providers, Tui Ora Maori Development Organisation, Te Tihi Hauora O Taranaki PHO and TWPK, all of whom have contributed much to its development.

The board along with (TWPK) recognised that Maori fare worst in virtually every indicator of health status and socio-economic inequality.  Whether it’s related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, educational achievement, employment, violent crimes or a range of other important indicators of health and well-being, Maori rate poorly when compared to non-Maori.

Taranaki District Health Board Chairman John Young said:  “The pathway ahead now is to address these  facts and work on changing these disparities. We need to do this as a whole community, we cannot do this alone. Collaboration is essential for us to progress the health status of Maori in Taranaki,” he said.

“Many groups and people in Taranaki have worked very hard to recognise this pathway to Maori health improvement, and now it is time for us to put the plan into action.”

The five priorities the strategy highlights are improving access, building Maori capacity to do more and improving mainstream services to be more Maori-friendly. It prioritises strategic relationships and monitoring performance, highlighting the importance of working together not only as Maori but as a whole community, and of regularly checking that what is being done is working.

Taranaki DHB Chief Executive Tony Foulkes added that general and mainstream health services are accessed every day to support Maori but we still have a long way to go. “We need to get better at identifying the measures to demonstrate progress on longer term outcomes,” he said.

“It is important however, to recognise the good work that is being done and the foundations for the future that are being built.”

TWPK chairman David Tamatea believes the evidence for action is obvious and compelling.

“The strategy is a flagship for the hard work that is to follow,” said Mr Tamatea. “In this regard my board wishes to emphasis the importance of making the whole of the Taranaki health sector think about, document and report against its plans for responding to Maori health needs.”

“We believe this is one example of the kind of awareness and change needed to make sustainable improvement in Maori health status.”

For more information please call

Sue Carrington
Taranaki DHB
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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