Unravelling the Whāriki of Crown Māori Health Infrastructure
Came, H; Tudor, K
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New Zealand’s central government and more specifically the Ministry of Health consistently acknowledges their special relationship with Māori and the strategic importance of Māori health, and, certainly, strengthening Māori health is critical to addressing systemic health inequities. This paper, framed in terms of the principles attributed to the Treaty of Waitangi, i.e., participation, protection, and partnership, examines three recent major infrastructure decisions that have unravelled the whāriki (foundational mat) of Māori health. These include the disestablishment of Ministry of Health’s Te Kete Hauora, revoking mandatory District Health Boards’ Māori health plans, and downsizing their consultation requirements. These actions appear to breach the Articles of te Tiriti o Waitangi and may be cited as such in the forthcoming WAI 2575 kaupapa health hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal. The authors call for the Ministry of Health to embrace its Treaty obligations, and to protect and reinstate the threads of the whāriki of Māori health infrastructure.