A valuable investment for our future

Our previous organisational values were set in 2011 and captured an important part of Pharmac’s short history. After nine years of growth, we went back to the drawing board and, along with all staff, defined a new set of values to move us forward.

We wanted values that supported our purpose of delivering the best health outcomes from New Zealand’s investment in medicines and medical devices,” says Chief Executive Sarah Fitt. 

“But we also wanted values that would help grow our knowledge of te ao Māori and support us to be more effective in how we work with Māori and give effect to te Tiriti.” 

"These values express what we aspire to be. They ground our behaviour, guide our thinking, and help us make decisions that create better health outcomes for New Zealanders."
Sarah Fitt, Chief Executive

These are all important concepts from te ao Māori and bring rich guidance and meaning to the way we want to go about our work. 

Whakarongo / Listen

Āta whakarongo kia puaki te ngākau aroha
We listen with intent and empathy to understand

In a Pharmac context, whakarongo means perceiving with all senses – listening with intent and empathy, listening to understand, listening with more than your ears. 

“We must seek out all voices to truly understand,” explains Sarah, “and we must be ready to change our minds based on what we hear. With whakarongo shaping the way we communicate, people will trust us and know that we’ll engage with them in a meaningful way.” 

Behind the design: The Whakarongo spiral represents the darkness the children were in while the world was created. Once light and life were born, the children needed all their senses to perceive their world and connect with each other.

Tūhono / Connect

Kōtuitui kia piri, tūhono kia whakatatū te ara tika
We connect with people, communities, the health system and each other

Tūhono means that everything in the universe is connected. It’s a warm word that connotes relationships and  emphasises how connections are taonga and must be treasured. 

“To help us find the best way forward for everyone, we must connect with people, communities, the health and disability sector, and each other. We must see each other as people first, and tūhono with sincerity,” says Sarah.

Behind the design: Two split koru or puhoro represent Tūhono. The curves embody people coming together – weaving their stories to create a new narrative.

Wānanga / Learn together

Ma te māhirahira ka whāwhāki te maramatanga 
We draw on evidence and people’s experiences to improve

Sarah explains that, for Pharmac, wānanga is about being curious and collaborative to reveal the best way forward.

“To keep growing and changing for the better, we must share and be open to receiving knowledge and ideas. We must consider all evidence, from empirical research to the unique experiences people share.”

Behind the design: The poutama design for Wānanga represents the progression of knowledge with the steps needed to reach the best outcomes. They are built on a tāniko, which reminds us that change occurs where people and events cross.  

Māia / Be courageous

Tū te ihiihi, tū te wanawana, tū te wehiwehi
We challenge ourselves

On māia, Sarah says that being courageous ensures we are facing change with optimism.  

“When we have māia, we don’t avoid difficult conversations, and we constructively challenge ourselves and each other,” says Sarah. 

“We have to stand up when we see opportunities to do better. If we are to deliver better health outcomes for New Zealanders, we must be courageous.” 

Behind the design: The mango pare for Māia symbolises courage and resilience with the nose of the shark. It reminds us to persevere through challenges, to be courageous in our approach, and to always strive to be better.

Kaitiakitanga / Preserve, protect, and shelter our future

Hāpaitia te mana tangata hei whāriki mo nga uri whakatipu
We safeguard wellbeing for New Zealanders, now and for the future

The final and arguably most fundamental value is kaitiakitanga. It explicitly honours our commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi and strings the other four values together. 

Te Pātaka Whaioranga, our te reo name, means ‘the storehouse of wellbeing’. Whaioranga describes recovering to good health and te pātaka symbolises the solid and reliable structure that safeguards supplies in traditional Māori villages. For Pharmac and the New Zealand health and disability sector, that’s supplies of medicines and medical devices.

More about our te reo Māori name

Behind the design: The Kaitiakitanga symbol features the pekapeka, a taonga inspired by the native bat. Pekapeka act as a kaitiaki for the wearer and are passed down through generations to continue guardianship of the mauri.