chapter  6
Maori Community Health Workers: A Mixed Reception in New Zealand
WithCorinne Shear Wood
Pages 14

This chapter describes a small-scale but innovative Maori community health worker program in New Zealand in which few or none of the problems were operative. The Maori comprise somewhat less than 15% of New Zealand’s slightly more than 3 million people. During the first year of its existence, the marae health facility was staffed by a Maori registered nurse who was present on a part-time basis and by the three community health workers. Few informed New Zealanders today would question the need for health care programs tailored to Maori needs. The disparity between European cultural norms and the indigenous Maori value system Is all too obvious. In New Zealand, the dearth of medically-qualified personnel of Maori ancestry is another serious deficiency, and one that should certainly be addressed by appropriate government agencies. Maori health workers satisfy a strongly felt need by partially bridging the gap separating their people from full utilization of existing medical services.