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Established in January 2023, the National Pacific Health Senate provides objective, strategic advice to Te Whatu Ora and supports it to deliver more equitable health outcomes for Pacific peoples.
The Senate also provides guidance on operating model changes in Te Whatu Ora, and Pacific leadership advice to the system with a strong focus on the initiatives outlined in Ola Manuia Interim Pacific Health Plan.
Sir Collin Tukuitonga KNZM
Bio: Sir Collin Tukuitonga KNZM (Chair)
Sir Collin Fonotau Tukuitonga KNZM is a Niuean-born New Zealand doctor, public health academic, public policy expert and advocate for reducing health inequalities of Māori and Pasifika people. He has held several positions in public health and government in New Zealand and internationally.
He was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to Pacific and public health, in 2022.
Sir Collin has held several highly influential offices, including Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC), Commissioner and Co-ordinator for WHO Geneva, Chief Executive of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health. He was also instrumental in establishing Pacific Language weeks as an Aotearoa New Zealand government initiative, and in his home of Niue, he established the biannual Niue Culture and Arts Festival.
Sir Collin is one of our most prominent Pacific figures in the health sector in Aotearoa, the region and globally, having held leadership roles in public health and in Pacific development. His voice was crucial in advocating for Pasifika during the Covid crisis in Aotearoa, and he has been consistently vocal in pointing to inequities for Pasifika in the health system and pushing for policy to impact Pasifika in better ways.
His current positions at the University of Auckland are Associate Dean Pacific, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Administration; Associate Professor, Population Health; and Director - University Research, Centre for Pacific and Global Health.
Dr Hinamaha Lutui
Bio: Dr Hinamaha Lutui
Dr Hinamaha Lutui is a GP and one of the founding members of Pacific provider Southpoint Family Doctors in Manukau Auckland. She is a clinical teacher for trainee interns through the University of Auckland, a GPEP teacher for the RNZCGP and Clinical Director at The Cause Collective.
After completing a science degree at Otago, Dr Lutui went on to gain a BCA at Victoria University, before deciding to attend medical school to become a GP.
After graduating from Auckland University, Dr Lutui trained at Middemore Hospital, then went on to be a House Officer at Bader Drive Clinic in Mangere. From there, she went on to complete her GP programme, and loved it so much she then became a medical teacher to help others decide if that was a path they wanted to follow. She sees the Pacific Senate as an opportunity to influence systems change to improve services for our Pacific communities.
Dr Lutui is of Tongan and European descent. Her mother’s family hail from Lapaha, and her father from Glasgow and Hull. Lutui is her husband’s name and hails from Ha’apai.
Tunumafono Fa'amoetauloa Avaula Fa'amoe MNZM
Bio: Tunumafono Fa'amoetauloa Avaula Fa'amoe
Tunumafono Fa'amoetauloa Avaula Fa'amoe MNZM is a Director of the Board of Vaka Tautua. He is also Deputy Chair of PIASS Trust, one of Vaka Tautua’s parent trusts, and National Executive Officer for the Tōfā Mamao Collective.
Tunumafono has considerable disability, leadership, management and governance experience. He has helped establish a number of organisations, notably PIASS Trust, Taikura Trust and Vaka Tautua, and is a former trustee of Taikura Trust.
Active in civil society matters, Tunumafono was an elected member of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board, Auckland Council; and previously served as the Chair of the Otara Community Board, Manukau City Council. He is a former board member of Community Legal Services South Auckland.
In 2019, Tunumafono was appointed Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community and health.
Tunumafono is Managing Director of his company Dauntless Blue which looks to enable breaking the cycle of poverty, dramatically improving communities and building a bright future for the next generation. He comes from Samoa, the villages of Sataoa Upolu and Matautu Savai’i.
Dr Karaponi Okesene-Gafa
Dr Karaponi Okesene-Gafa
Dr Karaponi Okesene-Gafa is Senior Lecturer and researcher at the University of Auckland, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; and a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Women’s Health) at Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau, Middlemore Hospital, South Auckland.
She lectures and teaches in Women’s Health with a focus on the health of Pacific women in New Zealand, and recently completed her PhD on Obesity and excess gestational weight gain in pregnancy, interventions and participant feedback. Her research interests are on the impact of excess weight gain and obesity in women during pregnancy and long term health, as well as possible interventions to improve outcomes.
Dr Okesene-Gafa is the current president of the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health, a charity supported by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and other organisations to assist with professional development of Women’s Health colleagues in the Pacific. She is a co-opted academic committee member for RANZCOG.
Dr Okesene-Gafa is of Pacific descent, from Niue, Samoa and the Cook Islands.
Bio: Makoni Havea
Makoni Havea is a Nurse Practitioner in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in the Counties Manukau district. She is Clinical Lead for the Village Collective in Manukau and an academic mentor and supervisor at Massey University.
Makoni migrated to Aotearoa from Tonga with her father and siblings, and completed high school and university in Auckland.
She has clinical experience working as a case manager, mental health nurse and leader in various mental health teams within Counties Manukau Health (inpatient and community), and in providing mental health assessment and support within primary care at Langimalie Primary Care Clinic, Tongan Health Society and Integrated Locality Team. She was deployed to the Kingdom of Tonga following the January 2022 Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai eruption and subsequent tsunami to provide in-country specialist mental health assistance.
Makoni was born in Ha’apai, and raised in the village of Haveluloto & Ngele’ia in Tongatapu. Her father is from Vaimalo, Vava’u and her mother is from Tongoleleka, Hihifo Ha’apai & Fungamisi, Neiafu Vava’u. She is mother to a beautiful and strong daughter, and an aunty to many.
Bio: Ngatepaeru Marsters
Ngatepaeru Marsters is Cook Island Māori and a midwife of nearly 25 years.
Initially she practised as a LMC in south Auckland, and spent nine years at AUT south campus with a focus on Pasifika midwifery workforce development. This was a joint venture between AUT and Te Whatu Ora Counties' (Counties Manukau DHB) Pacific workforce team, which is the template for national initiative Tapu Ora, a collaboration between midwifery schools in Aotearoa and Manatu Hauora.
Ngatepaeru currently has a dual role as Tapu Ora National coordinator and is part of AUT's Pasifika midwifery liaison team. She is co-chair of Pasifika Midwives Aotearoa, a committee member of NZ College of Midwives (NZCOM), Auckland region, a Pasifika representative on NZCOM's National Board and part of workforce development within the maternity sector.
Dr Teuila Percival QSO
Bio: Dr Teuila Percival
Dr Teuila Percival QSO is a Samoan Consultant Paediatrician working in South Auckland, and an honorary academic at the University of Auckland.
Dr Percival has worked in Auckland as a paediatrician for more than 15 years, with particular interests in Pacific people’s health, community child health and child protection. She has worked in the Pacific region in both clinical and research roles, with a research focus on maternal and child health, climate change and health, child obesity, health systems and informatics.
Dr Percival holds a number of leadership roles in the Pacific health sector. Her work was recognized in 2006 with a Pasifika Medical Association Service award, and in 2010, Dr Percival became a companion of the Queens Service Order for her services to the Pacific Community.
Dr Percival’s family are from Ofu in Manu’a and Puapua in Savaii.
Dr Tule Misa
Bio: Dr Tule Misa
Dr Tule Misa is a public health dentist working for Community Dental Services Te Whatu Ora Canterbury Region.
Dr Misa graduated with a BDS in 1998 from the University of South Pacific and worked as a dentist in Tonga for four years. She attended Otago University in 2002 where she earned a postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry and completed her Masters in Community Dentistry in 2010. She sat for New Zealand Dental Registration exams in 2003.
Dr Misa worked in private practice in the Christchurch and Nelson regions for a few years, before moving to work at the Community Dental Service for Te Whatu Ora Canterbury Region, where she has been for over 17 years.
She’s passionate and willing to help reduce oral health inequities among New Zealanders and especially those in vulnerable communities with poor oral health.
Dr Misa hails from the village of Te’ekiu, Kanokupolu, Kolomotu’a, Tonga Island.
Bio: Fakaola Otuafi
Fakaola 'I Vaiola Siliva Otuafi was the first Tongan nurse practitioner in New Zealand, and the first Pacific nurse practitioner in Counties Manukau.
She is an Honorary Professional Teaching Fellow within the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, NP Panel Assessor for the NZ Nursing Council and also works at the Tongan Health Society (Langimalie Clinic).
Fakaola moved to New Zealand from Tonga in 1997 to study nursing at the Manukau Institute of Technology, following in her mother’s footsteps who was also a nurse in Tonga. Her whakapapa links are to the villages of Nakolo, Pea and Fanga 'o Pilolevu, Tongatapu.
Bio: Tania Mullane
Tania Mullane is Head of Nursing Pacific at Whitireia Community Polytechnic.
Tania is a first generation born Pacific person, with Fijian (Nacekoro/Tonga-Lau), Tongan and Greek whakapapa. She grew up in Te Puke, which sits within the iwi of Tapuika and is where her four children have strong whakapapa ties.
Tania has extensive leadership experience within the health, tertiary education, and justice areas, with a proven history of working in partnership with Māori and Pacific organisations and communities to form sustainable, positive relationships to effect positive change.
This has included working as a nurse with an Iwi organisation, Well Health child provision, and academic and leadership roles at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Waiariki Institute of Technology and the Manukau Institute of Technology.
For two years, Tania led workforce development as Training Manager at Auckland South Corrections Facility, before moving to her current role as Head of Nursing Pacific at Whitireia—which over the last 17 years has graduated over 400 Pacific nurses who have significantly contributed to the health workforce to better meet the needs of Pacific people and communities.
Tania has recently completed her PhD, which looked at cultural strategies that support Māori and Pacific with diabetes to better health outcomes. In doing this she developed the Tangata Hourua (Combined People) research framework, which draws from Kaupapa Māori and Pacific methodologies and values, to uphold the rights of Indigenous Māori to have their knowledge and culture embedded in research undertaken in their lands, whilst also giving voice to Pacific peoples living here and with shared or connected whakapapa.