7th July 2017, Volume 130 Number 1458

Heather Came, Keith Tudor

Despite the special relationship between the Crown—including its agencies, such as the Ministry of Health—and Māori in this country, systemic health inequities between indigenous and settler populations persist.1 Historically, these…

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Summary

The Ministry of Health consistently acknowledges their special relationship with Māori, and the strategic importance of strengthening Māori health is critical to addressing health inequities. This paper, framed in terms of the Crown Treaty of Waitangi principles, ie, participation, protection and partnership, examines three decisions that threaten to unravel Crown Māori health policy infrastructure. These include the disestablishment of the Ministry of Health’s policy team, Te Kete Hauora, revoking mandatory district health boards’ (DHB) Māori health plans and reporting, and downscaling the requirements of DHBs to consult. These actions appear to breach te Tiriti o Waitangi and may be cited as such in the forthcoming WAI 2575 health hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal. The authors call for the Ministry of Health to embrace its Treaty obligations.

Abstract

New Zealand’s central government, and more specifically the Ministry of Health, consistently acknowledges their special relationship with Māori and the strategic importance of Māori health, and certainly, strengthening Māori health is critical to addressing systemic health inequities. This paper, framed in terms of the Crown principles attributed to the Treaty of Waitangi, ie, participation, protection and partnership, examines three structural decisions that threaten to unravel the whāriki (foundational mat) of Crown Māori health policy infrastructure. These include the disestablishment of the Ministry of Health’s policy team, Te Kete Hauora, revoking mandatory district health boards’ (DHB) Māori health plans and reporting, and downscaling the requirements of DHBs to consult. These actions appear to breach the Articles of te Tiriti o Waitangi and may be cited as such in the forthcoming WAI 2575 kaupapa health hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal. The authors call for the Ministry of Health to embrace its Treaty obligations, and to protect and reinstate the whāriki of Māori health infrastructure.

Author Information

Heather Came, Senior Lecturer, Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland; Keith Tudor, Professor of Psychotherapy, Head of School, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Dr Nicole Coupe for her feedback on this paper.

Correspondence

Heather Came, Senior Lecturer, Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland.

Correspondence Email

heather.came@aut.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Dr Came is co-chair of STIR: Stop Institutional Racism—this is a nationwide network of activist scholars and public health practitioners committed to eliminating institutional racism in the health sector.

References

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