Priorities in Maori health policy have shifted from an
initial ''crisis response'' to individual patients facing
serious health challenges to a more strategic approach, Maori
Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said yesterday.
Mr Flavell was commenting in a wide-ranging talk to about 70
people attending ''The Otago Hui 2014'', a two-day event,
which ended yesterday at the Otago Museum's Hutton Theatre.
The annual event was focused on encouraging Maori health
professionals to ''better work together to improve health
outcomes for Maori'', and was supported by the University of
Otago, the Ministry of Health, and the university's Maori
Health Workforce Development Unit.
Mr Flavell congratulated the organisers of the second annual
Otago hui on Maori workforce issues and said the positive
strategic approach being taken was ''a sign of how far we've
Many of the people attending the gathering were ''movers and
shakers'' among the Maori health professionals of the future.
He noted that the initial focus in Maori health had involved
a ''crisis response to the life and death struggles of
individual patients'', but there was now a more strategic
He noted the Maori Party had enjoyed considerable success in
having a series of Government policy moves adopted, to
greatly reduce smoking, including among Maori.
He also strongly defended the Whanau Ora approach to Maori
health which had been strongly promoted by the party, and had
become part of the National-led coalition government's
This approach aims to empower communities and extended
families to support families in a community context, rather
than individuals within an institutional setting.
Mr Flavell said that whereas before there had been a focus on
trying to counter severe health challenges such as diabetes
at the individual patient level, there were clearly big
advantages in adopting a broader approach.
The collective Whanau Ora approach sought to include members
of a patient's wider family in health interventions.
Instead of simply trying to improve the diet and exercise
regime of one patient, by engaging with the whole family,
wider diet and exercise benefits could also be achieved by
them, including avoiding other health problems which might
have been looming.