Te Taki o Autahi partnership in telehealth begins

By Tumamao Harawira

A joint venture between four health organisations was signed in Waitangi this morning and marks the next stage in delivering health outcomes for Māori, through telehealth, providing health advice through the phone.

Te Taki o Autahi is a partnership between four health services and builds on the work done by the organisations during the pandemic.

Tia Ashby, Kaiwhakahaere for Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi says it is finally a reality for the organisations involved.

"It's timely, it's innovative, it's new and it means that we're going to be able to ensure that communications are tailored towards the people."

"We know it takes a village in a community, to deliver services to The Fono in this partnership. It also means that this model can be replicated in other areas throughout the country."

Telehealth is defined as delivering health services via technology, and, in 2021 the four health organisations teamed up to provide Covid-19 information in the regions. It created over 300 jobs, with $15m being injected into those communities.

Moving into a new space for hauora

"Being a Maori health provider, we're usually always tied into this master-servant relationship. But now we've created a new, limited partnership where we retain our own individual unique organisations."

Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga CEO Waylyn Tahuri-Whaipakanga says their organisations believe that they have the capability to provide these types of services.

"Since August last year, we've bought a lot of employment through Whakarongorau Aotearoa as a subcontractor. This brings us out under the subcontracting arrangements, and into a partnership."

Karen Vercoe, CEO of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, agrees.

"If you're a subcontractor, that is not equitable, So the ability to have us as joint shareholders and our own separate entity is really important. From there, if you get the head right everything else is right."

Andrew Slater, who is CEO of New Zealand Telehealth Services, says there is an opportunity for other iwi to become involved in telehealth.

"There is a platform for other iwi to join our kaupapa and be woven into it, and what you can expect is an unrelenting focus across all of the services we run within this kaupapa."