More Māori and Pacific health workers should be doctors, nurses and managers – Dr Matire Harwood
The small number of Māori health practitioners in New Zealand means most hold multiple, varying roles to fill gaps in the health system. Dr Matire Harwood exemplifies the multi-tasking expected of Māori working in health.
She is currently a general practitioner, health researcher and Waitematā DHB board member who has worked at the coalface of health for the last 25 years.
“We need Māori involved at all levels of the health system,” says Harwood. “It won’t just benefit Māori, it will benefit all New Zealanders.
“But until we get that, a certain voice is privileged, a certain perspective of health and how we address health is privileged within our health system.”
Harwood spends one to two days a week at the Papakura Marae health clinic working with mainly Māori patients.
She says Māori have their own health solutions that need to be valued not just by policy makers, health providers and clinicians, but also Māori themselves.
Since March last year, the clinic has been delivering a pilot programme called Mana Tū, focused on Māori and Pacific people with diabetes.