News from home / Politics / Business
Written by: Teepa Wawatai
29 Nov 2018

Tena koutou Ngati Porou,

Nothing is ever simple or straightforward. Nevertheless, we have much to celebrate and be thankful for and so much to anticipate and be genuinely hopeful about. But, we are also mindful that, along with our communities, we have faced difficult times this year and deep sorrow. Those moments muffle our celebrations and cause us to pause, as we are caught somewhere between our current reality and an aspirational Blue Zone dwelling-place - gulf of disproportion. It is a gulf measured in shortened lives - poor, diminished, suffering!

That, was the heart of our message to the Prime Minister and members of her cabinet, at our Gisborne-based Crown Summit in August. The case we presented for Ngati Porou health equity was simple and stark. Put plainly, our people die younger than any other group in the country and suffer more through multiple chronic disease conditions on the way to that early death. Life expectancy for the country is 81 years, for this region 78 years, for Maori in this region 71 years, for Maori living up the Coast, 69 years. That is a life expectancy gap of 12 years! The Prime Minister’s response was immediate and endorsing. She acknowledged our dire situation and approved funding for a business case to finalise and implement our Model of Care and supporting infrastructure aimed at bridging that gap. That is great news and the most positive response we have had from the Crown in a decade.

Members from Ngati Porou Hauora with the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Associate Minister of Health, Jenny Salesa, at the Gisborne Crown Summit in August.
(from left) Francis King (NPH Kaimahi), Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Huti Watson (NPH Board Member), Hon. Jenny Salesa and Teepa Wawatai (NPH Chairman)


Let us mark and celebrate other significant milestones. In August we opened Te Rangawairua o Paratene at Te Puia, a joint research centre in partnership with the Maurice Wilkins Centre. This initiative brings research out of the institutions and into the community where life outcomes are most affected. It is a testament to “Dr Pat” (Ngata) and his legacy - the things that he left behind to inspire us. His hopes and deepest desires have become ours.

Representatives of the Maurice Wilkins Centre, Ngati Porou Hauora and the whanau of the late Dr Paratene Ngata at the opening of Te Rangawairua o Paratene Research Centre at Te Puia Hospital.


In another related ‘first’, we hosted Tatai Oranga, a highly successful metabolic disease research forum. About 80 scientists, health specialists, frontline community health workers and community members joined together at Iritekura Marae, Waipiro Bay to discuss better solutions for metabolic conditions like type-2 diabetes, gout and heart and kidney disease. Perspectives were shared from across the globe including world-leading genetic research undertaken by our research partner on how genetic variations affect how our bodies process sugar. This will pave the way for precision medicine, where medical treatment is tailored to the individual.


This year we launched our vision – Te Pae Kahurangi, which captures our desire to be one of the world’s Blue Zones - a handful of places in the world where people live exceedingly long and well. That is why the business case and the development of our Model of Care is so important, with a strong focus on prevention and wellness. Investment, or its absence, along with broad collaboration, shapes the ability of people and systems to perform. We also launched a new logo and a new website. These are all important branding issues related to transforming our organisation and setting our course toward Te Pae Kahurangi. We completed fibre connection for all our clinics, invested in hardware and software applications to extend the reach of telemedicine and other software tools designed to assist with diagnosis, treatment and recovery pathways - including the development of an innovative app (pepi-ora) to incentivise good practices for new parents. Huringa Pae has continued its success in radically changing people’s lives and Te Hiringa Matua will too. The appointment of a Professional Practice Fellow linked to Otago University has steered the teaching centre intentions for Te Puia. A $96k Lotteries grant funded a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the Te Puia facility.We have achieved all of this and more, through the sacrificial dedication and support of our people, including our board, management, staff and community. Thankyou!

Lastly, for the second year in a row, we achieved a net surplus. It was hard earned but not without consequences. Nevertheless, this gives us confidence. Every milestone we reach, investment we make, audit we pass and budget we tick is largely based on our confidence to back ourselves to honour our commitments. Consistent performance gives confidence and confidence determines our trajectory - whether our steps are timid or bold. Let’s be bold!

Teepa Wawatai
Ngati Porou Hauora