Māori directorate established at Pharmac

Media release

Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac has set up a dedicated Māori directorate, demonstrating the strong commitment Pharmac has to ensuring equitable health outcomes for Māori.

“We are committed to upholding te Tiriti o Waitangi across all areas of our work. The independent review into Pharmac highlighted we need a stronger Māori voice in our work and better ways to incorporate mātauranga Māori,” says Pharmac’s Chief Executive Sarah Fitt. “To support us to achieve this, I am pleased to announce the development of a new directorate, with our Chief Advisor, Māori, Trevor Simpson (Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa) stepping up into the role as our new Kaituruki Māori Director.”

“Te Tiriti o Waitangi sets the enduring foundation for Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac to achieve the best health outcomes for Māori,” says Kaituruki Māori Director Trevor Simpson. “This means building partnerships that best serve whānau who need it and evolving our mahi to embody te ao Māori.”

“The Māori directorate will support our focus on lifting our Māori capability and capacity across the organisation. It will also strengthen our understanding on how to effectively partner with Māori, as well as support all our Māori staff.”

Striving for Tiriti excellence will underpin the Māori Directorate’s work. A key Directorate team role will be working towards building strong Tiriti systems and processes. It will also help to lift cross organisational capability to meet these system challenges. 

“Our mahi is about collaborating with the health sector to develop strategies that enable better medicine access and tackle health inequities for whānau, hapū and iwi,” says Trevor.

“Creating the Māori Directorate reflects the organisational response to the Pharmac Review while also acknowledging the many years of advocacy for a Māori Directorate, both from internal Māori staff and our Māori stakeholders. It signals a critical shift towards building an organisation that is fit for purpose in the new health system.

“It’s a steep learning curve and we are still climbing, but the appetite from Te Pātaka Whaioranga to step back, reflect on what we do, and collaboratively consider how we can truly bring te Tiriti and equity considerations across all of our work is really heartening,” says Trevor.

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Prior to being Pharmac’s Chief Advisor, Māori Trevor Simpson was with the Health Promotion Forum for more than eight years, where he held the role of Deputy Executive Director and Senior Health Promotion Strategist (Māori portfolio). Before that he worked in a number of vocations including Crown Land administration, Treaty Settlements, Māori social work and Māori Public Health. His interests are in raising the profile of Māori issues particularly in the areas of health and matters of social importance. Trevor is committed to improving Māori health status and believes that strong Māori leadership in this field is an essential facet if we are to contemplate success.