Te Arawa extends ground-breaking health delivery

A landmark partnership between iwi and Māori health providers – including Te Arawa Lakes Trust – is another step forward in designing and delivering equitable health outcomes for Te Arawa whānau.

Called Taki O Autahi, the partnership involves Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi, Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Whakarongorau Aotearoa // New Zealand Telehealth Services. It was officially signed at a ceremony at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on Friday, 12 August.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust CEO, Karen Vercoe, says the partnership is another significant step forward in achieving better outcomes for whānau.

“This builds on our initial mahi to deliver healthline services – including the COVID line – from Rotorua. Our local centre has created 106 jobs – many for whānau who had lost employment during New Zealand’s COVID response.

“Since our Waea Mai call centre went live in August last year (immediately before the Delta lockdown), our kaimahi have received and made more than 275,852 calls with whānau to provide COVID information and vaccination support.

“Most importantly, our team – alongside the other iwi involved – have provided a friendly, familiar and reassuring Māori voice in the COVID response, a critical component in ensuring a level of comfort for whānau when they most need it,” says Ms Vercoe.

“This is a by Māori for Māori initiative, and it’s proven to be a huge success for everyone involved, including our local community. The improvement in the hauora of our kaimahi and the effect it has on whānau and the wider community cannot be underestimated.”

Ms Vercoe says Waea Mai offers at least a living wage and a flexible work environment, which means kaimahi can plan for the future and fit their mahi around tamariki, mokopuna and other whānau commitments.

Whakarongorau Aotearoa // New Zealand Telehealth Services CEO Andrew Slater says Taki O Autahi is of fundamental importance to the organisation’s remit e whakawhiwhi ana ki te katoa I Aoteararoa te huarahi kia ora to give everyone in Aotearoa the opportunity for wellness.

“We have been on a journey with Te Hau Ora O Ngāpuhi, Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Te Arawa Lakes Trust to reach some of Aotearoa’s most underserved communities. I can only describe this work as transformative.

“It has shown that when our respective skills and resources are truly, equitably and fairly shared, the health and wellbeing of individuals and whole communities benefit.

“To have the trust of these three iwi and Māori-led organisations is a privilege and we will continue to strive to earn it,” says Mr Slater.

You can read the full media release here.