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Position statement launch marks important milestone in journey towards Māori health equity

19 May 2021

An important milestone in the journey towards health equity for Māori and the fight against racism is how the launch of a joint Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Board and BOP Māori Health Rūnanga Position Statement is being seen.

Position statement launch marks important milestone in journey towards Māori health equity

The Position Statement on Tiriti o Waitangi, Equity and Racism has been developed over the past 9 months and will be launched on Wednesday 19 May at Whakatāne Hospital.

“We are inspired by flourishing within Te Moana a Toi,” said BOPDHB Board Chair Sharon Shea. “We are focused on achieving a Toi Ora system that is geared towards enabling whānau, hapū, and iwi to be self-determining.

“The launch of the position statement signals to our community and to our staff that we are committed to the journey towards Toi Ora. It also represents our Board's active commitment to its partnership with the Rūnanga and to our Iwi vision of Toi Ora,” she added.

The Rūnanga (a representative body of the Bay of Plenty’s 18 iwi) Chairperson Linda Steel welcomed the launch of the position statement.

“Equity is more than a word or an add on at the end of a sentence as it represents the absence of the systemic, entrenched and pervasive inequities that some of us experience daily,” said Linda. “As He Korowai Oranga (Māori Health Strategy) states health and wellbeing are influenced by the “collective” as well as the individual and it is important to work with whānau in their social contexts not just with their physical symptoms. The position statement sends a strong message that nothing less will do, and the three key concepts (outlined below) set the foundation within the BOPDHB environs.”

Sharon Shea said that to be authentic Tiriti partners, to ensure Tangata Whenua rights to have equitable access, quality and experience of care, and to tackle racism required determination and focus. Three key concepts were outlined as being crucial in this journey:

  • Toitū te Kupu - uphold our word as it pertains to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the aspirations of our Iwi expressed in Te Toi Ahorangi.
  • Toitū te Mana - uphold the power, affirms He Pou Oranga and the sources of mana that lead to Toi Ora.
  • Toitū te Ora - uphold our vision, guiding and driving a whole of system approach that enables flourishing throughout the life.

Sharon added that the intended positive outcomes embodied by the position statement would benefit all people in the Bay of Plenty not only Māori.

“As we move forward, new learnings about how to tackle equity as well as improved health status will lead to people being more able to participate in society through work, social or cultural activities,” she said.

The position statement outlines how the BOPDHB is making a stand to implement Te Tiriti o Waitangi Articles and Principles, work in partnership with stakeholders to improve health equity for Māori as tangata whenua, and eliminate all forms of racism in the Bay of Plenty health system.

It goes on to state that systemic failures to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, persistent inequities and racism is unfair, unjust, and in many cases, avoidable. It adds that inaction in regard to these obvious issues is unacceptable.