Māori and Pasifika Leaders’ Experiences of Government Health Advisory Groups in New Zealand
Māori and Pasifika populations in New Zealand experience poorer health outcomes than other New Zealanders. These inequalities are a deeply entrenched injustice. This qualitative study explores the experiences of six Māori and Pasifika advisors on health policy-making advisory committees. All are health leaders, with extensive experience in the health system. They were recruited, provided semi-structured interviews, the data coded, and a thematic analysis undertaken. Our findings show that inequalities in the health system are reproduced in advisory committees. Participants noted their knowledge and interests were devalued and they experienced racism and tokenistic engagement. Some indicated it took considerable effort to establish credibility, be heard, have impact, and navigate advisory meetings, but even then their inputs were marginalised. Health policy advisory committees need deeper engagement and more genuine recognition of Māori and Pasifika knowledge. Māori and Pasifika leaders have constructive solutions for eliminating health inequities that could benefit all New Zealanders. Our qualitative study explored Māori and Pacific experiences of bring part of health policy making advisory committees. We purposively recruited six Māori and Pacific health leaders with extensive experience and conducted semi-structured interviews. Our findings were generated through a thematic analysis. Several participants indicated it took effort to establish credibility, be heard, have impact and navigate such meetings. Other used the political opportunity to advance outcomes beneficial to Māori and Pacific populations. Many noted that Māori and Pacific knowledge and intelligence was not valued and reported witnessed racism and tokenistic engagement with their contributions and preferred protocols. Health policy would be enriched by the deeper engagement and recognition of Māori and Pacific knowledge. Māori and Pacific leaders have constructive solutions for eliminating health inequities that could benefit all New Zealanders.