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University of Otago and Ngāti Toa Rangatira renew partnership

Wellington campus

Monday 17 October 2016 12:22pm

MoU Wellington image
From foreground to the rear - Chancellor John Ward, Te Taku Parai, Chairman, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira; Sir Matiu Rei, Executive Director, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira.

The University of Otago this week renewed an important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira. The MoU was signed at a ceremony at the University of Otago Wellington by Te Taku Parai, chair of Te Rūnanga, Sir Matiu Rei, Te Rūnanga Executive Director, and John Ward, Chancellor of the University.

“The University is delighted to be re-signing and reaffirming this very important relationship which brings our two organisations closer together,” says Chancellor Ward.

“Our relationship with the University of Otago has been a very good one for 25 years,” said Sir Matiu Rei at the ceremony.

Dean and Head of Wellington Campus Professor Sunny Collings said that Ngāti Toa Rangatira has always been in the forefront of innovations in whānau ora, primary care and health promotion – developing health and social services that are Māori-led and benefit the whole community.

“They are well known for their determination and strong track record in improving access to low cost primary health care for residents of Porirua and Wellington. We acknowledge their contribution to the education of health professionals, including our dental and medical students,” Professor Collings says.

Ora Toa, the health services of Ngāti Toa, employs five Māori GPs who are keen to mentor Māori students. Dr Sean Hanna, another of their GPs, is also employed by the University of Otago, Wellington as a clinical educator and advisor.

“Although Sean is not Māori himself, he is fluent in te reo Māori. Our medical students come back buzzing after their placements with Ora Toa” says Bridget Robson, Associate Dean Māori at the University of Otago, Wellington.

University of Otago research groups also work closely with Ngāti Toa for research in their communities. Research collaborations include studies on what helps Māori communities to quit smoking, oral health, housing and rheumatic fever, as some examples.

The Eru Pōmare Māori Health Research Centre was established at the University of Otago, Wellington in 1992 by a member of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, the late Professor Eru Pōmare, Dean of the Medical School and a distinguished leader in Māori health.

“The Eru Pōmare Centre has always appreciated the support of Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira. In the early 1990s they helped to get us established with a contract to evaluate their whānau ora services, led by Charlene Williams and Matiu Rei,” says Bridget Robson.

For further information contact:

Bridget Robson
Associate Dean Māori
University of Otago, Wellington

Toa Waaka
University of Otago, Wellington

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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