Pharmac announces new Deputy Medical Director Māori

Media release

Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac has welcomed Dr Kiri Prentice (Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa) to the newly established role of Deputy Medical Director Māori.

Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes explains that the role has been established to weave mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) across Pharmac’s decision making processes and help to strengthen relationships across the health sector with a focus on improving health equity for Māori.

“Kiri has dedicated her career to health, with a passion for Māori mental health and philosophy. We are privileged to have someone with her experience and expertise join our team,” says Dr Hughes.

Kaituruki Māori – Director Māori Trevor Simpson is encouraged to see Māori leadership increasing across the organisation and sees this as a chance for Pharmac to lead tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake (self-determination and governance) within the health sector.

“Hikitia te mana Māori (strong Māori leadership and involvement) is one of the requirements and expectations we have committed to in the implementation of our Te Tiriti policy. We recognise by having Māori leaders and expert advisors we are supporting the wider team at Pharmac to strive towards excellence in te Tiriti partnership.

“Kiri’s addition to our wider team is another step in the direction of our Te Whaioranga Māori Responsiveness Strategy to increase the equitable outcomes for Māori from our work. We hope with her addition to our team, we will be able to elevate our conversations and aspirations for this work, and continue our consideration of Hauora Arotahi, our Māori health areas of central focus,” says Matua Simpson.

Deputy Medical Director Māori Dr Kiri Prentice wants to be part of transforming the healthcare system during the nation’s health reforms. “I wanted to work with an organisation that can see the value of mātauranga Māori, is taking action to give effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi and has the courage to adapt to achieve health equity.

“I saw the role of Deputy Medical Director Māori with Pharmac as a great opportunity to make use of my pūkenga (expertise) as a consultant psychiatrist, my passion for integrating mātauranga Māori into healthcare systems, and realise my own wawata (aspiration).”

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Dr Prentice works part-time at Pharmac and will continue her roles as Deputy Clinical Director Māori Mental Health and Addiction Service, Te Whatu Ora - Counties Manukau District and professional teaching fellow at the University of Auckland. Dr Prentice also creates educations videos focused on Māori philosophy and mental health, which are freely available on YouTube and link).