Bringing together Māori health expertise to engage with reforms


Bringing together Māori health expertise to engage with reforms

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Poutoko Hauora is bringing together Māori expertise from across all aspects of healthcare, says clinical psychologist Ainsleigh Cribb-Su'a

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“They love and care from the depths of their souls”

The growing interest in a new Māori healthcare network has been a beautiful thing, says Ainsleigh Cribb Su’a, but the numbers wanting to join are likely to mean a sleepless weekend for her.

Poutoko Hauora is a network established in June seeking to connect Māori from across the spectrum of healthcare, and to proactively engage with the health-reform process.

“It’s been a beautiful thing to watch it come together across the motu, and I mean far and wide, and see people connect and share our struggles and our successes,” says Ms Cribb-Su'a.

“We’ve had a massive flurry of interest and I don’t think I’m going to be sleeping over the weekend trying to answer all the emails and messages. But it is so uplifting, as a mental health practitioner, to hear the hope and the passion and commitment from everyone, and make a few whakapapa connections along the way.”

The OGs

The concept grew from conversations between Ms Cribb-Su'a, Hauora Hinengaro lead at National Hauora Coalition, Taima Campbell, clinical services manager at Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki, and Margareth Broodkoorn, chief executive of Hokianga Health Community Trust.

From these first three, numbers have grown to almost 180 members, covering 65 iwi, 53 areas of healthcare, and 20 regions of New Zealand.

An internal network of takawaenga (mediators) is forming to enable a flow of information to and from the wider membership.

Pouoko Hauora has been meeting monthly with smaller working group hui running fortnightly. NHC clinical director Rawiri McKree Jansen has joined to provide a connection to Māori pandemic group Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā.

New connections

Ms Cribb-Su'a says part of their drive came from sharing the loneliness they felt as Māori during the early part of their careers. They are already seeing the impact this new connection brings to colleagues at a similar stage.

She is also hopeful that gathering their expertise will have wider benefits, and cites their ability to bring together a wide range of viewpoints on tackling issues such as diabetes.

Poutoko Hauora this week reached out to the Ministry of Health, the director-general of health and the other director-generals, to offer their help and express their interest in creating a two-way kōrero.

“I know my reality is that nobody can care for Māori people more than the way I care for and love them, that’s just how I feel, and I’m sure the rest of Poutoko Hauora feels the same way.

“We need to utilise all of our Māori and Pacific leadership more, they love and care from the depths of their souls. These are our communities and I don’t think we recognise that enough when looking for skill sets to lead initiatives.

“In part, that’s how Poutoko came about, we want to contribute with the best strengths that we have, and it is my belief that is done by coming together and being collaborative and being inclusive.”