To access COVID-19 testing, call 0800 VIRUS 19. For up-to-date information on COVID-19: Click Here

Renewed partnership between Southern rūnaka and health authorities underscores shared dedication to equity

Monday 15 March 2021

An agreement that provides the foundation for bringing the health aspirations of Māori to life in Southern New Zealand is being formalised today.

The signing of the partnership agreement at Ōtākou marae renews the relationship between the district’s core health administration bodies, Southern DHB and WellSouth PHN, and the Murihiku and Araiteuru Papatipu Rūnaka, representing Māori from across Otago and Southland.

The partnership agreement updates and renews the first agreement among these parties signed in May 2011. A decade later, the signing underscores a shared commitment to ensuring equity through meaningful collaboration and engagement through the Iwi Governance Committee.

An Iwi Governance Committee spokesperson describes the day as significant.

“Manawhenua leadership from across Otago and Southland have come together to sign off a refreshed partnership agreement with the Southern DHB and WellSouth.

“The intent is to work together to increase health outcomes for Māori. 

“Māori, as we know, have lower health outcomes than others and this signing represents a joint approach to minimise existing barriers for Māori in the region.

Collectively we understand that attending to these problems will ensure Māori have equity and best care in all systems. This includes the pathways by Māori for Māori approach that is supported by Southern DHB and WellSouth.” 

Southern DHB chair Pete Hodgson says the signing is timely, as Māori, the government and whole health sector demand a step-change in ensuring truly equitable health outcomes for Māori.

“The disparity between Māori and the general population is no longer just a matter of concern; it is a matter that demands resolution. This signing is a day to reassert our absolute conviction that the current inequities are unacceptable, and our shared unwavering focus on making the changes that are needed.”

Mr Hodgson also paid tribute to former Southern DHB chair Dave Cull who had “laid the groundwork for the signing of this document. I am delighted to be following in his footsteps.”

Mr Cull also commented on the importance of the occasion. “The health of Māori is a significant barometer for the health of the whole community; when Māori are thriving, we all are. This partnership agreement provides the means and measures for achieving this, and is a dependent on genuine unity between manawhenua and the DHB.”

WellSouth PHN Chair Dr Doug Hill says the time for change is long overdue: “We’re committed to working together with our colleagues to make real progress for Māori health outcomes. We know there is significant work to be done and this partnership is our commitment to effect change. Our combined efforts will benefit Māori and their whānau today and for generations to come. ” 

Ka Papatipu Rūnaka

The Iwi Governance Committee is made up of a representative from each of the seven papatipu rūnaka identified in Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu Act (1996) whose territory is in the Southern DHB region. These are: Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka; Te Rūnanga o Awarua; Waihōpai Rūnaka; Hokonui Rūnanga; Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou; Kati Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki; Te Rūnanga o Moeraki.

View more news