Pacific family hugging Pacific family hugging Pacific family hugging

Five Pacific health providers are developing Pacific approaches that ensure maternity and early years services more accessible and delivered through cultural frameworks for Pacific families as part of a joint approach between Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora. 

In July 2023 the Government announced $74 million of funding over the next two years for Kahu Taurima, an overarching programme and strategy for change, integration and eventual transformation of maternity and early years care – pre-conception to five years old – for all families in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

As part of this funding, Māori and Pacific health partners across the country are developing culturally appropriate models of care for maternity, child growth and development.  

There are long-standing inequities for Pacific families in this space, including missed opportunities in screening, early intervention, and treatment during pregnancy. For example, only around 40 per cent of Pacific women are registered with a lead maternity carer in the first trimester, compared to more than 80 per cent of NZ European women, and the Pacific maternal mortality rate is twice that of NZ European women. 

With support from Health NZ, the Pacific providers are designing and piloting end-to-end wrap-around models of care in five sites with large or growing Pacific populations, taking strength-based approaches developed specifically for the communities in their area. 

Pauline Fuimaono Sanders, Health NZ’s National Head of Pacific Workforce and Kahu Taurima Lead for Pacific Health, says the overarching goal is ensuring Pacific families have better access to maternity and early years support within a family-centered approach.  

“The pilot programmes currently being developed are based on Pacific cultural values and principles such as love, respect, family, collectivism, reciprocity and spirituality. 

“Our Pacific peoples respond better to services that meet their needs from a health, social and cultural perspective, so we are focused on applying insights from our families, communities and service providers throughout the development of this work. This will also be supported by what has been learned from existing programmes, data, research and evaluation.”  

As part of the first phase of Kahu Taurima, hauora Māori partners have also been contracted to deliver a range of initiatives including developing telehealth pathways, a maternal mental health and wellbeing assessment tool, strengthening the Māori midwifery and child growth development nursing workforce, and developing educational programmes. 

Find out more about Kahu Taurima here.

Pacific Health Services Hutt Valley 

Pacific Health Services Hutt Valley is one of the five Pacific providers designing and piloting new models of care as part of the Kahu Taurima programme. Read more about one of their new programmes at the Hutt Valley Hospital Maternity ward.