Community: In Conversation with the National Hauora Coalition

Illustration by Daphne Zheng

National Hauora Coalition’s Taria, spoke to Emelia about her work in the Mana Tū programme.

What inspired you to join this NHC?

I was actually coordinating clinical research in Australia when the role popped up at the National Hauora Coalition. Being Māori, it was always a goal for me to return home and get involved with a project that benefited my people. I read up on the values of the NHC and it came across as an organisation that really existed to serve both New Zealanders and Māori, so I applied for the role and by some miracle landed it!

What is NHC about and what do you do?

The National Hauora Coalition is a Primary Health Organisation that has a strong focus on whānau, celebrating indigeneity, innovation and achieving outcomes. The NHC provides services across a range of primary health areas, including the Auckland Wide Housing Initiative (AWHI), which works to improve the housing conditions for whānau in the Tāmaki Makaurau area, and Mana Kidz, a school based health programme for tamariki in South Auckland. I manage a Research Project led by the NHC called Mana Tū. It’s an intensive case management programme focussed on serving high needs populations with long term conditions – particularly those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. We work with patients, along with their whānau, to improve both their health and social outcomes.

What are some of the things that NHC has done to create change and improve equity?

Equity is at the very core of the NHC. The initiatives, programmes and research that the NHC embarks on always aim to address the significant inequalities that exist across socioeconomic and ethnics groups, as well as geographic regions. The Mana Tū Research programme is a prime example of this. We work specifically with Māori and Pacifica patients, place a heavy focus on addressing the wider social determinants of health and have implemented the programme in both urban and geographically isolated areas.

How do you think that everyone living in New Zealand can foster positive change?

Developing a really strong self-awareness of how different groups of people operate in the healthcare system has been a really powerful tool for me to work towards building positive change in the healthcare system. Every New Zealander has a unique perspective, background and valid experiences navigating the healthcare system and we should all make a conscious effort to understand each other’s perspectives more if we are going to get anywhere with implementing positive change.

 

A huge shout out to the National Hauora Coalition. It’s a real privilege to work for an organisation that has the people’s interests at heart. Also a big thanks Dr Matire Harwood and the rest of the Mana Tū Team for the awesome mahi they do.