Recipe for a good chat – getting ready for The Popcorn Panels


Recipe for a good chat – getting ready for The Popcorn Panels

Media release from The Health Media and New Zealand Doctor
Popcorn panel

Tomorrow night, the first of a series of four “Popcorn Panels” will get underway looking at the fate of PHOs given the recommendations of the Health and Disability System Review panel.

It is hoped the Zoom panels will provide a relaxed platform to chat about proposed changes to the health system, which attendees can enjoy from the comfort of their couch.

Taking part in the first Popcorn Panel are Tū Ora Compass Health chief executive Martin Hefford, Temuka GP Bryan Moore and Victoria University health services researcher Jackie Cumming.

The panel runs from 7-8pm on Zoom. It is free to attend but it is necessary to register at

Now for the popcorn

To aid proceedings, New Zealand Doctor | Rata Aotearoa editor Barbara Fountain is sharing her simple recipe for homemade caramel popcorn (sorry I can’t attribute properly – it comes out of a scrapbook full of clipped and handwritten recipes – Barbara), guaranteed to invigorate.

Caramel popcorn

2 tablespoons canola (any neutral flavoured oil)

4 tablespoons popping corn

120g brown sugar

50g golden syrup (maple syrup is a less sweet alternative)

25g butter

¼ teaspoon baking soda

You’ll need to time your making of the caramel coating with the popping of the corn because you want the corn to be hot when you add the caramel.

Life a baking tray with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 160 degC.

Pop the corn in the oil. Remove from the heat.

Caramel coating

Put the sugar, golden syrup, butter and a tablespoon of water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil then boil for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 2 minutes then stir in the baking soda.

Stir the caramel through the popcorn and then spread the popcorn over the baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes, stirring after 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Can be stored in an airtight jar for a week but you will probably it in one sitting.


Martin Hefford

Martin Hefford is chief executive of Wellington-based PHO Tū Ora Compass Health. Martin has over 20 years’ experience in health services planning and delivery. He has held a number of health sector roles, including: general manager integrated care at Counties Manukau DHB, chief operating officer at Capital & Coast DHB; group manager planning and funding at Hutt Valley DHB; senior locality manager in the Health Funding Authority; and group manager mental health in the Central Regional Health Authority. He has also worked as a senior advisor for the Department of Social Welfare, and within the NGO sector, and was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 2013 to work with Kaiser Permanente in the US.

Bryan Moore

Bryan Moore was born and raised in South Africa and graduated from the University of Cape Town. Bryan was training in surgery when he emigrated to New Zealand in 1995 seeking a safer place to raise family, and left hospital practice for general practice. He completed his FRNZCGP and a postgraduate diploma in general practice from University of Otago. Bryan works in general practice in Temuka, South Canterbury, with his wife, Katy Burton (who is the real organiser and inspiration). He is chair of the South Canterbury Primary Care Alliance and is passionate about sustainable general practice and primary care.

Jackie Cumming

Jackie Cumming is director of the Health Services Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington and lead researcher in a number of projects exploring aspects of the New Zealand health system's performance, including a five-year project assessing the effectiveness of the primary healthcare system. Jackie has qualifications in both economics and public policy and has previously worked for a number of government departments and agencies, including the Treasury, Department of Labour, Department/Ministry of Health and Public Health Commission. Her PhD in Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington focused on the theory and practice of defining core health services.

More panels coming

Go to The Popcorn Panels to check out details for a further three panels planned in this series: Why not? A Māori health commissioning authority (16 July 7pm), General practice – missing in action (21 July, 7pm) and Health NZ and super-sized DHBs – déjà vu? (23 July)