Exciting Whānau Ora innovations in the Waikato are getting strong support from the Waikato District Health Board.
This includes DHB staff leading strategic planning work for the Waikato Whānau Ora Regional Leadership Group (RLG) and a DHB Māori health team member being seconded to help develop the expression of interest from an iwi alliance aiming to be a new Whānau Ora collective.
Waikato DHB general manager for Māori health Ditre Tamatea – also the DHB’s representative on the local RLG – sees significant benefits in making a strong, upfront commitment to Whānau Ora.
‘For me, Whānau Ora is one of the most important initiatives from a Māori health and Māori/whānau development perspective that we have got at the moment,’ he said.
`That’s how much I rate it. I am very supportive of Whānau Ora because I see huge opportunities for transformational change for whānau.’
The Waikato RLG is working hard to realise the vision in its 33-page strategic plan – a document with substantial input from the DHB’s Māori health team – and associated communications and action plans.
‘We want to build strong whānau, so that every mokopuna is born safe and well,’ Ditre said.
In the first wave of Whānau Ora provider development, the National Urban Māori Authority and Waikato-Tainui Te Ope Koiora were selected as Whānau Ora collectives.
When a Raukawa-Maniapoto alliance was formed to establish a new collective in the second Whānau Ora provider development wave, Ditre offered the services of one of his staff to help the alliance develop its expression of interest (EOI).
Crucial to this process was a high level of trust and good relationships.
‘It has been driven entirely by iwi and providers, with the focus being on whānau, and has been very successful,’ Ditre said.
‘It has enabled the DHB to support the process and it has been a privilege to be able to do this. Our staff get just as much back, in terms of learning and growth. Iwi have indicated that it has been of real value.’
A similar offer has been made to Hauraki.
To eliminate any perceived conflict of interest, Ditre excused himself from RLG deliberations on Raukawa-Maniapoto’s EOI.
The RLG recently moved into a new strategic phase by forming a Whānau Ora network with collectives and senior Māori managers in government departments to look at how Whānau Ora can be further progressed in the Waikato region.
- There are 10 RLGs in the country. Their role is to provide regional strategic leadership to ensure whānau-centred initiatives contribute in positive and realistic ways to local communities. Waikato RLG members are: Harry Mikaere (co-chair); Tania Hodges (co-chair); Denise Messiter; Aroha Terry; Piritata Kirkwood; Te Rehia Papesch (Ministry of Social Development); Gail Campbell (Te Puni Kōkiri); Ditre Tamatea (Waikato District Health Board)
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