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Wednesday 6 October 2021 11:11am

Sue Crengle 2021 news image
Professor Sue Crengle.

Otago Medical School Professor Sue Crengle will play a central role in what she describes as “the biggest opportunity for Māori health in my career”.

The senior Māori health researcher has been appointed to the Māori Health Authority, a new body established as part of the Government's reform of the health system.

Professor Crengle, of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, is a registered GP whose research has a focus on health inequities, health services research and quality of care, and youth health. She will be one of eight board members leading the new body.

“When I listened to the announcement about the Māori Health Authority and read the Cabinet Paper, in my view it was the biggest opportunity that we've had in Māori health in my career. I was really excited by the potential and wanted to do whatever I could to make it successful.

“I have experience in primary care. I'm vocationally registered as a GP and as a public health physician. I have a lot of experience around research, particularly in health services research, and I have a current PHO governance role. I thought that I had experience and skills that would be of use to the authority.”

The Māori Health Authority will work alongside Health New Zealand, a new body bringing together the country's 20 DHBs.

It will have a joint role in developing system plans, commissioning for primary and community services, and will commission kaupapa Māori services. The Māori Health Authority will also work alongside the Ministry of Health to develop strategies and policies that work for Māori.

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare said the authority was “a significant milestone in progress towards a more equitable health system”.

“The new Māori Health Authority will be a gamechanger for our people. It will grow kaupapa Māori services and give Māori a strong voice in a new system focused on improving the disproportionate health outcomes that have long affected our whānau.

After the establishment phase, Professor Crengle has clear ideas of where she would like Hauora Māori and the Māori Health Authority to be in 2040.

  • Whānau wellbeing is at the centre of the health system
  • The Treaty of Waitangi is embedded and enacted across the entire health system. Iwi-Māori partnership boards act as te Tiriti partner to the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand
  • Whānau, hapū and Iwi voice, aspirations, rangatiratanga and mana motuhake drive the health system
  • Whānau ora approaches, tikanga and mātauranga inform and underpin the health system, services and programmes and support whānau to achieve their aspirations, build their capabilities and express their mana motuhake
  • Kaupapa Māori services, providers and programmes are widely available and accessible across Aotearoa
  • Health services and programmes under Health NZ's umbrella are culturally safe, have embedded Māori values, tikanga and matauranga, and provide excellent quality of care with equitable outcomes for whānau
  • Whānau have choice of high quality and outcomes focused providers across the whole of the health system

All this has resulted in flourishing whānau, improved Māori health status and health outcomes, the elimination of health inequities and the achievement of pae ora.

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