BOPDHB chair comments on new role

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Chair Sharon Shea has been appointed Co-Chair of the Māori Health Authority and is also a board member on Health New Zealand. Supplied photo.


Bay of Plenty District Health Board chair Sharon Shea says it’s time for New Zealanders to be bold and courageous regarding the potential benefits of the health sector reform, as her appointment as Māori Health Authority co-chair is announced.

Sharon is one of a group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience whose appointments to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand were announced by Health Minister Andrew Little on Thursday. 

“I believe in how we treat people, matters; how we think and act matters; what we do, matters and how we serve others, matters,” says Sharon. 

“Inherent in this whakāro, is a belief that implementing Te Tiriti o Waitangi with integrity is a powerful disruptor for positive good. Accordingly, any opportunity to provide leadership which supports transforming intergenerational cycles of disadvantage to advantage and to support enduring and positive intergenerational change, matters to me.”

Sharon says that the creation of the Māori Health Authority marked “a moment of significance in our history.”

“I have every confidence that collectively, we can make a sustainable difference in supporting those who need our support the most.”

Health New Zealand will bring together the country’s 20 DHBs, a workforce of about 80,000, an annual operating budget of $20 billion and an asset base of about $24 billion. 

The Māori Health Authority will work alongside Health New Zealand with a joint role in developing system plans, commissioning for primary and community services, and will commission kaupapa Māori services. 

The Māori Health Authority will also work alongside the Ministry of Health to develop strategies and policies that work for Māori.

Tipa Mahuta, current deputy chair of the Counties Manukau District Health Board, will work alongside Sharon as co-chair of the Māori Health Authority. Meanwhile Rob Campbell, an experienced professional director with extensive union, public and private sector governance experience has been appointed as the chair of Health New Zealand.

“As a proud New Zealander and a proud indigenous woman and one-day grandmother, I would like to see every mokopuna in Aotearoa New Zealand flourishing, thriving, and realising the rangatiratanga they were born with,” adds Sharon. 

“Persistent, unfair, and unjust inequities are an anathema to mokopuna oranga and the fabric of New Zealand’s society.

“As Kiwis, we need to harness our aspiration to support and enhance the success and wellbeing of all New Zealanders and a big part of this is showcasing and cherishing the beauty and wisdom abundant in te Ao Māori. Proactive, mutually supportive, and innovative relationships between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti are our future. We should embrace the change and reflect it within our new outcome-focused and equitable health system.”

Chair of Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o Te Moana a Toi (Bay of Plenty Māori Health Runanga), Te Ao Hou Trust chief executive Linda Steel says Sharon works with grace and humility.

“On behalf of Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o te Moana o Toi I am so pleased that Sharon has been appointed not only as the co-Chair of the Māori Health Authority but also as a Board member of Health NZ,” she says. 

“It is an honour to sit alongside her in her role as the BOPDHB Board chair as she has navigated the waka with grace and humility. Sharon is committed to transformative change and is one who favours possibility over pessimism and will be energized where others feel paralyzed. “Mai i te po ki te ao mārama” (It is in the darkness, that we see the light of our tomorrow”).”

BOPDHB CEO Pete Chandler notes Sharon’s strong leadership qualities in congratulating her on her appointments.

“We’re thrilled that Sharon has been appointed to these new transformational roles,” says Pete. 

“She has energised our DHB and driven the embedding of equity focus in all that we do and will bring strong leadership drive to shaping the new national health system.”

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare says the new Māori Health Authority was a gamechanger.

“It will grow kaupapa Māori services and give Māori a strong voice in a new system focused on improving the disproportionate health outcomes that have long affected our whanau.”

Health Minister Andrew Little adds that the members of the new boards shared a dedication to improve the country’s health and wellbeing with a strong community focus.

“I am confident our new health entities are in the best possible hands to drive this long overdue transformation,” he says.

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