Claims from two groups of Māori health leaders are being heard in the Waitangi Tribunal from 15 October next week at Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia as part of stage one of the its national kaupapa inquiry into health services and outcomes.
The two claimant groups (under claims Wai 1315 and Wai 2687) say that inequity and institutionalised racism in the health system currently exists and the situation must change. The shared position is based on national Māori health statistics and status which is evident of the Crown failure to care for Māori health and wellbeing.
They share the view that Mana Motuhake, self determination and Māori autonomy produces better health outcomes and saves lives. The claimants seek recommendations from the Tribunal for legislative reform of the system for Māori to have autonomy of their own healthcare services to organise, develop and deliver.
“Our Wai claim has been 13 years in the waiting after first filing back in 2005 in response to the Government’s Primary Health Care Strategy. What we saw then continues now - the system is not meeting the needs of Māori. The inequalities that exist between Māori health and the health of others is a national outcry for our people and our Nation” says, Lady Tureiti Moxon, Managing Director of Te Kōhao Health, submitting on behalf of Wai 1315, a group of Māori involved in Primary care in the North Island.
Both claimant groups consider the Crown did not establish the health system to work for Māori. By elevating Mana Motuhake it enables the claimants to determine solutions that work for whānau given the extensive knowledge that they possess. The effect is Tino Rangatiratanga, Māori will take responsibility for Māori health and well-being.
“The ultimate solution lies in constitutional reform based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi that entrenches equity of outcome and Māori participation in achieving this” says Simon Royal, Chief Executive of the National Hauora Coalition and claimant in WAI 2687 - the other claim being heard in stage one. “In the meantime legislative reform and public policy change is required ensuring Māori health is adequately resourced - so we can see Māori thrive.”
The claimant groups are looking to the Tribunal to focus its recommendations on a future for Māori where Māori have control over hauora and where there is support for Māori whānau. The claimants also seek recommendations on redress for issues faced by Māori that have tried in earnest to implement Hauora Māori within a system that disregards Māori systems of care.