27 Aug 2021

Māori Health Authority must enable tino rangatiratanga - feedback

2:53 pm on 27 August 2021

The group tasked with creating a new Māori Health Authority has been told to ensure tino rangatiratanga is embedded at every level and iwi partnership boards have teeth.

The national Māori flag - Tino Rangatiratanga.

The national Māori flag - Tino Rangatiratanga. Photo: 123RF

The Health Transition Unit has had hundreds of engagements with Māori since the government announced the new authority's establishment in April.

According to official documents, an engagement process was required to understand how the Māori Health Authority should be held accountable to Māori and how its broad functions should operate, including its commissioning powers.

The Transition Unit was also advised to ask Māori how new Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards should be appointed and supported.

Hauora Māori Workstream Lead Chad Paraone said the feedback so far had been clear.

"From these engagements, a number of key themes are emerging that include enabling tino rangatiratanga and Te Tiriti partnership at all levels of the system, particularly regionally and locally, emphasis on the whole system needing to address Māori health needs and aspirations - not just the Māori Health Authority," he said.

"[There has been] interest in accountability mechanisms and how this might work in practice, support for the strengthened role of the Iwi Māori Partnership Boards in the future health system and how that will be supported, including the likely funding settings, and the need to support DHBs throughout the transition to ensure that meeting equity targets remains a priority."

The Health Transition Unit has so far engaged with Tumu Whakarae, Māori health providers, current Iwi Māori Partnership Boards at DHBs, iwi, Māori staff within DHBs and Māori health professionals.

Paraone said the engagement process was continuing.

"As these hui continue, we expect more themes to emerge which will further inform our approach to embedding Hauora Māori across the system," he said.

"We will share that feedback with those we have spoken to later in the year and continue to provide opportunities for Māori providers and communities to keep informed and able to actively participate in the transition of the health system."

Legislation to enact the Māori Health Authority is due to be introduced next month.

Iwi Māori Partnership Boards

The Health Minister Andrew Little has been asked to consider various options for the role of Iwi Māori Partnership Boards for the Māori health Authority, including its decision-making power.

Official documents show the character of the boards could either be as independent Māori entitities that are appointed by Māori without any formal reporting lines to the Minister, or Crown entities accountable to the Māori Health Authority.

In terms of their decision-making power, two options being considered include that they only have an advisory role or can directly commission services targeted at Māori.

The Minister has also been encouraged to consider whether the Māori Health Authority will provide policy support and training opportunity to the boards.

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