Native Affairs: Racism in NZ - A Sick Disparity

By Kim Webby

A senior lecturer in public health says institutional racism is rife in the New Zealand health sector.

Last month, Dr Heather Came told the United Nations that policy and decision-makers are usually not Māori and do not listen to Māori.

"How we do institutional racism in NZ is that we're incredibly monocultural and so we squash out everything that isn't Pākehā.  And so it means we have very monocultural health policy that sometimes has some words around Māori health but the substance of it is still bio medical and western and white," Came says.

Emma Rawson, a member of Stop Institutional Racism, which a group of public health activists, says there's disproportionate funding allocation between mainstream and Māori health providers.

"The non-prioritisation of funding essentially is a mechanism to keep Māori in a position where they're disadvantaged," Rawson says.