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Issue #13 - 11 August 2022
In this edition
Chief Executives' Update
Operational Updates
Health sector updates

Te Aka Whai Ora's mahi on health policies
Staff Profile

Chief Executives' update


Tēnā koutou e ngā kaimahi, 

Last month’s all-staff hui was our first opportunity to come together as Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora. Thanks to those of you who joined us – especially those people who asked questions!

At our next staff hui on 18 August, we’ll be sure to allow more time for questions. We’re also looking at what technology we can use to take your questions and feedback throughout the change process. But, in the meantime, please continue to send questions and ideas for either Te Whatu Ora or Te Aka Whai Ora through to

We have put a callout for colleagues to register their interest in contributing to national and regional work in infrastructure and investment, data and digital, commissioning, and hospital and specialist services operating model, among other roles and functions, which could be supporting both local and regional/national duties. Our intention is to create opportunities for people to be part of building new functions. Between us, we already have the answers to many of our challenges. We have not had national ways of working before, and our regional teams are at different stages across the country. As someone once said in the past, ‘collaboration worked at the pace of the lowest trust collaborator’. There are many advantages to our being one unified service.

On 1 August we had a blessing for Kotuku House, our new office in Auckland. We were really fortunate to have the Mana Whenua of Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa (Manukau) provide a dawn karakia to bless our whare and provide the name for our office, which is Huanui. This name refers to the aspiration of greatness, which is what we hold for the Te Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill. We also had the opportunity to travel to Te Awa Maarahi Marae, just outside of Tuakau in the Port Waikato river, for a pōwhiri to welcome in our staff. This now means we have a home and space available for our teams to meet in Tamaki Makaurau.

A huge thank you to all our staff out there who we have met recently and who we know are on the front line every day looking after the people of this country in trying times. You are at the forefront of our minds, as we move to provide the best care for our communities and the best workplace for our staff.

Finally, we’d like to give a big shout out to our Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora whānau in Tairawhiti who hosted our visit last month.

Ngā mihi,

Margie and Riana

Margie Apa                                                  Riana Manuel
Te Whatu Ora Chief Executive                  Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Executive

Operational Updates

Te Whatu Ora Board

Key decisions made at Board meetings can now be found on the Te Whatu Ora website.

The next Board meeting will be held on Friday 26 August.

Stakeholder hui

On Tuesday 26 July, Margie and Riana hosted a virtual stakeholder hui, which included iwi, NGOs, interest groups, and government agencies.

They spoke about system pressures, the winter response, taskforce progress, interim New Zealand Health Plan, and Te Aka Whai Ora’s Establishment Plan. They were joined by Dr Nick Chamberlain, National Director, National Public Health Service, who gave an overview of the new National Public Health Service.

Hui recordings

Te Whatu Ora Stakeholder Hui 26 July
Te Aka Whai Ora Stakeholder Hui 26 July

All-staff hui

On 28 July, Riana and Margie hosted the first all-staff hui, where they discussed how they will work together and keep us updated on the health reforms. More than 100 questions were submitted during the hui. There was only enough time to answer a handful, so we’ll be sharing the responses shortly. 

Hui recording

All-Staff Hui 28 July

The next all staff hui is scheduled for Thursday 18 August, 3.15–4.00pm. At this hui, Riana and Margie will give an update on our progress. We will have plenty of time for Q & A. You can submit your questions ahead of time and vote for the questions you would most like to hear answered. To submit a question or to join the hui go to: 
Change hub

We’ve set up a Change Hub on the Te Whatu Ora website to keep you updated on progress with our new operating models – which include data and digital, commissioning, infrastructure and investment models, and hospital and specialist care.

On this page, you’ll find information about the working groups, design processes, and FAQs. We’ll keep updating this page as we go, so don’t forget to check back.

New hospital and specialist service operating model

We’re developing a national operating model for our hospital and specialist services. The new model will reflect our ambitions to become a more unified and simplified health system and to uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It will outline how we will operate at national and regional levels, while maintaining specialist local knowledge where it is needed.

To carry out this work, we’ve established a team led by Ken Whelan, Independent Chair, and Joanne Gibbs, Senior Responsible Officer and Programme Lead. Ken and Jo will work in partnership with Te Aka Whai Ora to ensure hauora Māori and health equity for Māori are key objectives of the new operating model.

We are also setting up a clinical forum to help design the operating model. We’ll be asking for your input through hui, forums and surveys.

This project takes place alongside work to improve our data and digital, commissioning, and infrastructure and investment models.

You can stay up to date on the progress of all these projects by visiting the Change Hub.
National Director, Pacific Health Appointed

We’re delighted to welcome Markerita Poutasi to the role of National Director, Pacific Health.
Markerita (Meg) has outstanding experience in both Pacific health and strategic planning, and is particularly skilled in change leadership, Pacific health equity, and developing new models of care in consultation with communities.

Meg joins us from Te Toka Tumai Auckland, where she held the role of Chief of Strategy. In this role, she focused on embedding Te Triti principles into health services, and was instrumental in delivering new equity approaches within planned care delivery in Auckland.

Before this, Meg was Director of Pacific Health for the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre, where she led the regional approach for the Pacific Health response to COVID-19 and partnered with the Pacific Provider Collective to develop a regional commissioning framework, focusing on adaptive models of care.
We’re very excited to have Meg join us and we’re sure you’ll join us in welcoming her to our team.

We’d also like to acknowledge the work of Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone for her service as interim National Director, Pacific Health. She played a significant role in reinforcing Te Whatu Ora’s responsibilities around Pacific health.

Improving our health infrastructure

Fit-for-purpose health facilities are essential for a well-functioning health system. Now that we’ve brought Aotearoa’s hospital infrastructure into a single portfolio, we’ll be able to implement national standards and manage our buildings more efficiently. Addressing seismic risks to infrastructure is a top priority.

National Asset Management Strategy

The Infrastructure and Investment Group is developing a National Asset Management Strategy, which will provide a national approach to infrastructure planning. At present, the regions have different approaches to planning and are at different stages of planning process. The new strategy will:
  • develop asset management plans,
  • conduct service planning, and
  • support the delivery of current infrastructure projects.
National Public Health Service (NPHS) appointments

Leadership Team:

Becky Jenkins has stepped into the role of Interim Director, Protection.

Health Sector Updates

Government initiatives to ease workforce pressures

You will have seen that the Minister of Health announced a number of initiatives to relieve workforce pressures in the short-term by speeding up the supply and improving the retention of our healthcare workforce.

These initiatives were the first set of recommendations from Te Whatu Ora’s Workforce Taskforce, chaired by National Workforce Lead Ailsa Claire. 

These initial actions to nationalise support for new healthcare professionals through immigration and training initiatives. We will be setting up teams to work specifically on professional pathways, and we are reaching out to colleges, authorities, teaching institutions and professional leaders to work with us on how we can make it easier and simpler for trainees. We also want to provide our workforce with a range of experiences, including rural, urban, hospital and community settings, so they can make an informed choice about where they choose to work.

We need to do these things to grow our own workforce and attract skills from overseas. Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora are working in partnership with Manatū Hauora on these initiatives.

Te Aka Whai Ora has a specific role to grow and support the Māori healthcare workforce and people working in kaupapa Māori services across our health system. We know the current winter pressures are having a high impact on Māori communities and we’re working closely with Māori providers to ensure they are well supported.

The key initiatives are:

Building an international recruitment centre within Te Whatu Ora
Te Whatu Ora will launch a new in-house recruitment centre for international healthcare professionals, with the initial offering expected to start in October.

Rolling out the Real Nurses campaign
Real Nurses is a new domestic campaign to attract people into the nursing profession, as well as encourage former nurses back into the profession. It will run from August across social media, digital advertising, and, most excitingly, in partnership with Shortland Street! See more on

Supporting registration for internationally qualified health professionals
We’re scoping a six-month bridging programme to support internationally qualified doctors from non-comparable health systems to enter the workforce. This programme will roll out across the country and builds on existing programmes in the Northern and Te Manawa Taki regions.

The proposal includes a funded six-week clinical induction course to prepare postgraduate students for clinical work and employment, followed by a three-month training internship.

This programme will better prepare New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREX) doctors and enhance successful integration into the New Zealand workforce. It is anticipated that the programme will provide a small, but useful pool of 10 doctors to enter the workforce in mid-2023.

Funding is also available for Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQNs) undertaking a Competence Assessment Programme (CAP) to gain registration in New Zealand.

Improving the GP training model and boosting numbers
Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners will look at ways to incentivise registrars and increase the number of Māori and Pacific registrars in GP training. We will be working with Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) to boost GP training numbers to 300 per year.

Growing the kaiāwhina workforce
Kaiāwhina is the overarching term for non-regulated roles in the health and disability sector such as healthcare assistants, kaimahi (Māori health workers) or mental health support workers.

Their work in primary care helped ease the pressure on health professionals during the pandemic, especially in Māori and Pacific communities. We aim to start expanding the kaiāwhina service by the end of this year. 

Return to Nursing fund extended
The first round of the Return to Nursing fund will result in 200 nurses being supported financially to return to nursing. Funding will now be extended into 2023.

Increased funding for Nurse Practitioners
The number of Nurse Practitioners supported to enter the workforce will be doubled through increased funding of the Nurse Practitioners Training Programme. The programme currently supports 50 Nurse Practitioners per year, with a focus on mental health and addictions in primary health care.

Call for input into new rheumatic fever programme

We’re keen to hear from clinicians about their experiences of treating patients with rheumatic fever to help us develop the new national register for rheumatic fever.

The new register will improve how we manage patient records and enable health care professionals to access patient records more easily. To support this work, we’re also developing guidance for delivering patient-centred care for rheumatic fever, in consultation with patients and whānau.

The project team is keen to understand current clinical processes for diagnosis, IM penicillin administration, registration and patient management to help inform the design of the register and guidance for patient care. If you want to provide your thoughts and feedback on this topic, please contact Dr Catherine Jackson, Expert Advisor for the project, at by 31 August.

The public information campaign is live!

Last month, we gave you an update on the plan for our public information campaign. Well, now it’s live.
You’ll start seeing digital banners and tiles on our intranets and websites and find campaign posters and pamphlets popping up in places like waiting rooms and reception areas.

Videos and messaging will be on radio and digital channels (including Facebook and TikTok) in August and September. In the meantime, check out the video. Feel free to share it around.

Introducing the Aotearoa Immunisation Register

We’re developing a national register for vaccination records called Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR), which will provide our health sector the latest digital tools to support its immunisation programmes.

AIR will help us identify populations with the lowest vaccination rates. We’ll use this information to target these groups, so that we can reverse declining vaccination rates, particularly in children, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new database will enable health professionals to access vaccination records more easily. Currently, practitioners cannot access the system outside of clinical settings, and they may not be able to see a patient’s full vaccination history if the patient has moved district, as records are not automatically transferred between districts.
Plus, staff will be able to update patient records directly into the system – functionality that is very limited with the National Immunisation Register (NIR), one of our current systems.

Consumers will be able to access their records directly, without going through a GP or health care provider – which can be a barrier for some people.

We’re on track to complete AIR by June 2023, when we’ll begin to phaseout the National Immunisation Register (NIR) and the Covid Immunisation Register (CIR) and start moving providers over to the new system.
If you want to know more, please contact the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) team by emailing
Nan’s Song – Minimising Gambling Harm

Signs that gambling is becoming a problem can be subtle. Te Hiringa Hauora’s new media campaign called Nan’s Song teaches people to spot the warning signs and directs them on how to get support. 

The campaign aims to lift the taboo on gambling and reinforce Māori and Pasifikia cultural values, which can help protect against gambling harm. For example, Nan, the wise matriarch of the campaign’s title, encourages viewers to have a kōrero with friends and whānau if they’re concerned about their own behaviour. 

Nan’s Song runs across social and television until September. You can find out more on the Safer Gambling Aotearoa website.

He Tuinga Aroha

He Tuinga Aroha is a new campaign for rangatahi Māori, highlighting the mental health benefits of strong communication within families.

He Tuinga Aroha, which means weaving of love, follows the story of teenager Manutioriori and her mother as they tackle issues affecting Manutioriori’s mental health.

Find out more information about the campaign here and on the revamped youth channel The Lowdown.

Stick it to Hep C – our new straight-talking media campaign

Hepatitis C is easy to detect and treat, yet 45,000 New Zealanders are estimated to be living with the disease. On World Hepatitis Day (28 July), we launched Stick it to Hep C/Werohia te Atekakā C – an awesome new campaign that encourages at-risk people to get tested.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that causes inflammation of the liver, which can lead to serious damage over time, including liver cancer. Many people who have the disease won’t know it because obvious symptoms don’t usually develop until the advanced stages of the disease.

The good news is that hepatitis C is easily treated. All it takes is a simple finger-prick test, and an 8-week course of antibiotics.

Our new media campaign communicates these messages in an engaging and fun way – but don’t take our word for it, check out the campaign’s website:

We have coverage across most media channels, including television, digital, and radio, and a suite of posters, t-shirts and shelf wobblers. (Shelf wobblers for those that don’t know [we didn’t] are cards and signs you stick to walls or counter.

Te Aka Whai Ora's mahi on health policies

As part of our work to deliver health equity for Māori, we’re ensuring kaupapa Māori is incorporated into upcoming policies and strategies. We’ve recently participated in the creation of the following policies:

Women’s Health Strategy

Manatū Hauora has invited Te Aka Whai Ora to participate in the development of the Women’s Health Strategy.

Mandated under the Pae Ora Act, this strategy is one of five population strategies – sitting alongside the Hauora Māori Strategy, Pacific Health Strategy, Health of Disabled People Strategy, and the Rural Health Strategy.

The Women’s Health Strategy will provide a framework for improving health outcomes for women – for which wāhine Māori have been identified as a priority group.

We are working out how we can incorporate a Te Ao Māori perspective, and facilitate whānau engagement, into the development of the strategy. We’ll provide you with more information soon.

Therapeutic Products Bill and inclusion of rongoā Māori services

The Government is replacing the Medicines Act 1981 with a more comprehensive system under the Therapeutic Products Bill. It will include natural health products as well as medicines and therapeutic technologies.  

We will be working closely with the Ministry to provide guidance on this submission, and we have just submitted a paper outlining our recommendations to the Te Aka Whai Ora Board for consideration.

Review of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012

We provided feedback on a joint Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice draft briefing on the Review of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012: Scope and Approach.

Our feedback focused on: 
  • setting out the new roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Health, Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora on matters such as alcohol misuse,
  • including additional data and evidence on the burden of alcohol for Māori, including referencing grievances articulated under Wai 2624,
  • expanding the scope of the review to reflect evidence-based alcohol harm-reduction policies that were recommended by the Law Commission, such as excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, and
  • recommending the Ministries work with iwi-Māori communities and organisations, including iwi-Māori partnership boards, to ensure the Act reflects Te Tiriti o Waitangi.   
The final report was sent to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health on 29 July.

Staff Profile: Dr Nick Chamberlain - National Director, NPHS

What’s your role at the National Public Health Service?

I’m here to lead a team of more than 1,500 people to deliver public health services across the country. I am really inspired by the opportunity to drive change for everyone in New Zealand because everyone deserves better health outcomes.

What motivates you?

Most of my career has been spent in Te Tai Tokerau, where I spent many years in general practice. High levels of deprivation have a huge impact on health outcomes, particularly for Northland’s high Māori population.

The fact that the health reforms will address this and move resources to where they need to go, is a huge motivator for me. I really want to broaden the reach of public and population health through our work with iwi, Māori and Pasifika providers into all our communities and localities.  

What’s your advice to the health sector?

It’s been an incredibly tough two and a half years, but it’s also opened people’s eyes to Public Health’s centrality and importance and what it has to offer. My advice is to embrace the challenge that lies before us – build on all the good things we have got and make them much better, ensuring an equitable, responsive, consistently high-quality public health system for everyone, no matter who you are or where you live.   

In your career to date, what is the one thing that has made you most proud?
COVID-19 changed the landscape for everyone, and it is hard to go past that. I am so proud of our people and how they worked and continue to work through it. The culture within the whole of the health sector was one of working together and getting on and doing what needed to be done, despite all the challenges.
If I was asked to name one other thing I’m proud of, it’s working with many wonderful teams to get Whangarei Hospital redevelopment approved. Although there’s still some detail and a further business case approval process to go through, the Minister of Health has announced that money is available in a budget allocation and, in the next few years, we will start to rebuild Whangarei Hospital.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Family keeps me extremely busy. On 1 July, I became a grandfather for the fourth time. And anyone who knows Te Tai Tokerau will also know there is no better place to enjoy our beaches, surf and have the occasional game of golf.
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