Photo of two sisters

Our health system reforms will enhance Māori rangatiratanga for Māori over hauora Māori and ensure greater influence throughout the entire health system. This is central to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and will help ensure everyone has the same access to good health outcomes. That includes strengthening mana motuhake for whānau – supporting them to take control of their own health and wellbeing. 

What’s changing? / He aha ngā panonitanga?

We need to improve Māori health outcomes and embed the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as central components of the reforms. This will be driven at all levels in the system.

  • Health New Zealand(external link) (Health NZ) will be responsible for improving Māori health outcomes and equity through all of its strategic and operational functions at national, regional and local levels.
  • A new, statutory entity, Māori Health Authority, working in partnership with both the Ministry of Health and Health New Zealand, will be responsible for ensuring the health system works well for Māori through:
    • leading change in the way the entire health system understands and responds to Māori health needs
    • developing strategy and policy which will drive better health outcomes for Māori
    • commissioning kaupapa Māori services and other services targeting Māori communities
    • co-commissioning other services alongside Health NZ
    • monitoring the overall performance of the system to reduce health inequities for Māori.
  • Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards will have decision-making roles at a local level, and jointly agreeing local priorities and delivery with Health New Zealand. They will also be the primary source of whanau voice in the system.
  • The Ministry of Health, partnering with the Māori Health Authority, will continue to monitor how the system is delivering for Māori overall. 

An interim Māori Health Authority was established in September 2021, ahead of the creation of an independent Māori Health Authority as an autonomous legal entity from 1 July 2022. 

Visit the interim Māori Health Authority website here: Home / Kāinga | Māori Health Authority ( link) 

Why? / He aha ai?

There are some excellent initiatives throughout the current system, such as flu and MMR vaccination campaigns, community responses to COVID-19, and strong partnerships between Iwi and local health providers. But these initiatives are not consistently available or embedded nationally to improve the experience of care and better outcomes for Māori.

What will it look like in future? / Ka pēhea ā raurangi?

The Māori Health Authority will work with Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards, Māori health providers and professionals, iwi, hapū and Māori communities to understand Māori health needs and aspirations across New Zealand, and then ensure these are reflected in the priorities and plans of the health system, and how services are designed and delivered to meet those needs, including through the use of kaupapa Māori models and the application of mātauranga Māori in the system.

This will help build a stronger Māori workforce, support the growth in capability and capacity of hauora Māori healthcare providers, and encourage more innovation in services that deliver better outcomes for Māori. 

In each local community, partnerships between Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards, Health New Zealand’s regional and district teams, and the wider community will ensure Māori voices are heard, embedded in plans and services, and that health equity for Māori is non-negotiable.

The partnership between the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand will invest in services grounded in te ao Māori and ensure the wider health system better recognises and is more responsive to Māori needs, alongside that of the wider population.

When new services are commissioned or existing services are reviewed, the Māori Health Authority will partner with Health New Zealand to make sure service design and priorities reflect the diverse needs of the community, including for Māori.

When services are not performing for Māori, the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand will ensure the issues are quickly identified, and drive service and system improvement.

The Māori Health Authority will work with the Ministry of Health on strategy and policy issues of particular relevance to Māori, providing direction for the health system, ensuring that our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi continues to underpin approaches to hauora.

What’s next? / He aha e whai ake nei?

An interim Māori Health Authority was established in September 2021, ahead of the creation of an independent Māori Health Authority as an autonomous legal entity from 1 July 2022. It is likely the new legal entity will be renamed.

The interim Māori Health Authority will rapidly look to design its internal operating model and structures, build teams and capability, establish formal working relationships with the Ministry of Health and interim Health New Zealand (also established in September 2021) and engage with the Māori sector as it develops strategy, policy and commissioning models for the future health system.

At the same time, work will progress nationally on developing the model of expanded and integrated primary and community care at a local level. A number of communities will take part in the first wave of this ‘health locality’ approach, some of which will focus on kaupapa Māori services.

Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health), Hon Peeni Henare
April 2021


Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health), Hon Peeni Henare
April 2021




Last modified: