King Tuheitia has accepted an invitation to become patron of Starship Child Health – Aotearoa’s largest child healthcare organisation.
The appointment was announced during Saturday’s Koroneihana celebrations at Tūrangawaewae in Ngāruawāhia, a Kīngitanga statement said.
His patronage will ensure a mokopuna-centric child health focus under the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) reforms launched during Matariki in June.
This new approach will combine bio-medical science and mātauranga Māori to deliver and maintain child health and wellbeing.
Kīngitanga Chief of Staff, Ngira Simmonds, says King Tuheitia is humbled to be patron of the organisation which is close to his heart.
“During a recent visit to Starship Hospital, the King was moved by the dedication of the staff to protecting and healing the children in their care.”
Opened in 1991, Starship was New Zealand's first hospital built exclusively for children and their health needs, with a focus on family-centred care in a child-friendly environment.
While Starship is an outstanding healthcare provider, it also acknowledges that more needs to be done to reduce inequities for Māori, particularly those outside Auckland, the statement says.