Free healthcare for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

A strained healthcare system and over-representation of Māori in statistics has prompted Auckland based iwi, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, to partner with nib New Zealand to offer free healthcare to uri. 

$3mil a year has been set aside for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei iwi from their commercial arm to ensure health costs are met. 

Renata Blair says that it is a good investment from the iwi. 

According to Ministry of health statistics, one in seven adults reported not visiting a GP due to costs in the past year (2016/2017). 

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, are working to ensure that none of their uri ever feel that strain. 

Kingi Makoare, uri of Tuperiri believes it is a positive for Ngāti Whātua, "The good thing is that the pressure of cost is alleviated.  Furthermore, it encourages the good health of your family. That's important to me because Māori are sitting in the worst position in the statistics."

According to Blair, the healthcare plan covers a wide range of ailments.  "It covers surgical and non-surgical. diagnostic procedures and analysis, physio, some dental and optical," says Blair, "So it's a huge start for us and it also covers pre-existing illness and the private sector is now an option."

A roadshow is going around the country to inform all relevant people of the new health scheme. 

It will go live in April.