Inaction in the face of need a disturbing feature of Tribunal report

The Waitangi Tribunal’s report into the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry gives weight to the decades of whānau experience of institutional racism in the health system, described as ‘inaction in the face of need’.  All parties agreed that along with personal racism and stereotyping, institutional racism is a significant barrier to giving effect to the meaning of the Treaty and its principles.

“We acknowledge the sterling efforts of so many witnesses, who like Taitimu Maipi, highlighted “the importance of Whānau Ora, and who said plainly and forcefully that the persistence of Māori inequities is unacceptable, and must be addressed,” said Helen Leahy, Pouārahi for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

“In February 2019, the Whānau Ora Review, Tipu Matoro ki te Ao, found that “central government agencies are opting out of their own responsibilities” and that “Whānau Ora partners were not only meeting the service delivery responsibilities of other agencies, they were also expected to do so” (2019, p34).

“The Tribunal reveals, in startling consistency, that health entities aren’t appropriately held to account for achieving equity and that although the health system is complex and resource hungry, [but] the Crown must do better in meeting its obligations to Māori arising out of the Treaty relationship”.

“On its own, the magical solution of ‘co-design’ as a concept will not achieve what is desired to meet the actual partnership arrangements guaranteed by the Treaty.  Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu endorses the call of the Tribunal for recognition of tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake in the design, delivery, resourcing and control of Māori primary health,” said Ms Leahy.

“We argue also, that any proposed system change must be inclusive of the Whānau Ora approach.   Perpetuating more of the same, that is, a sector silo mentality which implies that wellbeing is only achieved through health interventions, will not make the seismic shift we need to see, to enable equitable health outcomes for whānau”.

“We welcome the recommendations to review He Korowai Oranga – which is where Whānau Ora first emerged in government policy speak back in 2002.   We want to see, seventeen years later, how the plans and strategies created in the health sector, will respond to the call for change promoted by the Wai 1315 and Wai 2687 claimants, and indeed by whānau across Te Waipounamu”.

“We would welcome the opportunity for a conversation about a co-design and co-decision process with the Nelson Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, South Canterbury and Southern District Health Boards”.  

“Whānau in Te Waipounamu deserve that chance to contribute to the aspirations for Whānau Ora; Pae Ora; Hauora”.

Link: Report on Stage One of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry


About us: Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is a Commissioning Agency that works on behalf of the iwi in the South Island to support and enable whānau to create sustained social impact.  We do this by developing and investing in ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Māori, underpinned by whānau-centred principles and strategies; these include emergency preparedness and disaster recovery.  Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu also invests in Navigator roles to support and build whānau capability.   

Media Contact:
Helen Leahy, Pouarahi, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu,Mobile: 021-881-031,
10 Show Place, CHRISTCHURCH,

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