Applying a Māori lens to healthcare: Te Taumata Hauora announces new chair

10 Feb 2021
Applying a Māori lens to healthcare: Te Taumata Hauora announces new chairGary Thompson (Ngaati Paoa, Ngaati Hauaa)

Gary Thompson (Ngaati Paoa, Ngaati Hauaa) is the new chair of Te Taumata Hauora, Māori Advisory Committee.

The appointment in December 2020 came after a year of mahi and development for the rōpū, which was established in 2019. Its purpose is to boost Pinnacle’s cultural capability, and capacity to address Māori health inequities.

Kaumatua Atutahi Riki (Ngaati Hauaa) says Te Taumata Hauora is something that has been a long time coming, and the work ahead in 2021 and beyond will be significant and appropriate to the name of the rōpū.

“The name Te Taumata Hauora was gifted to us in 2020 by Ngaati Hauaa kaumātua Tom Wheki. It’s a taonga that comes with wairua and mana, and the blessing that comes with it will have a place in the work being done now and in the future.”

Te Taumata Hauora works closely with the Pinnacle Incorporated board and leadership team to provide strategic and expert advice and guidance about Māori health issues and solutions, applying a Māori lens to healthcare.

New chair Gary Thompson brings a wealth of governance and Māori development experience to the kaupapa. Currently working as kaiwhakarite for Community Waikato He Piko He Kāinga, he is deputy chair for Hei Āhuru Mōwai, Māori Cancer Leadership Aotearoa and only recently stepped down from seven years as chair of Ngaati Paoa Iwi Trust.

Other governance roles include being appointed as a member of the Ministry of Health National Screening Unit, Māori Monitoring Equity Group and the Ministry of Health National Māori Bowel Screening Network.

Gary congratulated the Pinnacle board for taking the step to enable a Māori voice to have a role in the organisation’s planning and design.

“Te Taumata Hauora is a very dynamic group with a breadth of experience, pulling together people and organisations that reach across the Midlands region – from Taranaki to Tairāwhiti.

“Our aim is to provide guidance and advice based on our knowledge and experience of our communities. We can help the board identify what Māori needs and aspirations look like, developing clarity and understanding to make change.

“I look forward to working with everyone over the next few years. If we can build on the work that’s already been done, it can only be a positive thing.”

Pinnacle Māori health manager Rawiri Blundell (Ngaati Porou ki Uawa) says the establishment work of Te Taumata Hauora has helped build relationships with iwi Māori.

“The network has acknowledged that engagement with iwi has been minimal in the past, mostly due to a lack of awareness and confidence around how to meaningfully engage.

“Part of the kōrero was to further develop and strengthen our relationship with our Māori stakeholders, as well as enabling our board members and senior leadership to make better informed decisions concerning Māori health,” says Rawiri.

“Te Taumata Hauora will help ensure Māori advice and Māori health priorities are integrated across the organisation, from governance through to the operational levels of the business.”

Rawiri says delivering on the rights and needs of whānau Māori is an essential part of Pinnacle working within a Te Tiriti o Waitangi framework.

“Māori have the poorest overall health status and are significantly disadvantaged in terms of health inequities. Gradual change is happening, from internal policies through to processes and procedures, but there is still a long way to go.

“Te Taumata Hauora will help us focus on some key priority areas for Māori, from equity and improved outcomes through to evidence-based action and authentic relationships that allow us to work effectively with Māori. Delivering on these must take preference in everything we say and do as a health organisation.”

Te Taumata Hauora will meet quarterly in 2021, with the first hui on 11 February.


  • Gary Thompson, Kaiwhakarite - Community Waikato
  • Atutahi Riki, Kaumatua
  • Craig McFarlane, Chairman - Pinnacle Incorporated
  • Cheri Waititi, Lecturer - Waikato University
  • Dr Brendon Eade, Dep. Chairman - Pinnacle Incorporated
  • Helen Parker, CEO - Pinnacle Incorporated/Midland Health Network
  • Maui Hudson, Associate Professor - University of Waikato
  • Michelle Nathan, Manager - Counties Manukau Health
  • Rangimahora Reddy, CEO - Rauawaawa Charitable Trust
    Willow Salvador, CEO - Tuwharetoa Health Services
  • Reweti Ropiha, CEO - Turanga Health Tairāwhiti
  • Heremaia Samson, Hapori Manager - Waikato Tainui
  • Stephen French, Director - Pinnacle Incorporated
  • Tamati Neho, Project Manager - Tui Ora
  • Tio Sewell, Programme Manager - Te Rau Matatini