Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

News

  • Written by Republished with permission
Māori and Pasifika leaders report racism in government health advisory groups

Māori and Pasifika populations in New Zealand experience poorer health than other New Zealanders. Some of this inequity is due to health policies and uneven access to health care.

The New Zealand government often appoints committees and advisory groups, connected to government agencies, in an effort to reduce inequities in health. In our research, we explored the experiences of Māori and Pasifika members on advisory boards in influencing policy development.

We interviewed Māori and Pasifika public health leaders, with a century of collective experience between them, and found that their knowledge was often devalued. They experienced tokenistic engagement and racism. Some indicated that it took considerable effort to establish credibility, be heard and make an impact.

Here are five ways we found that racism manifests in health advisory groups.

Read more: Aboriginal – Māori: how Indigenous health suffers on both sides of the ditch

1) Navigating the room

All participants acknowledged the strategic importance of advisory group work and the challenges of being a solitary or minority voice. They experienced not being heard, a lack of respect, and the absence of authentic consultation and support for Māori and Pasifika health. Several participants noted their contributions were often not recorded in minutes.

The leaders we interviewed developed their own strategies to navigate this challenge. They drew strength and solidarity from other minorities and spoke out or used official complaints channels when necessary. They were proactive in seeking better outcomes and used their seniority to ensure the group remained focused on reducing inequities of health.

2) The battle for evidence

Participants noted that Māori and Pasifika knowledge and research are considered less rigorous and perceived as anecdotal evidence. Government officials relied on research from overseas, usually North America and Europe, which was assumed to be “gold standard” and “best practice”, even though it might not have been tested locally.

The leaders observed how white participants in the advisory group assumed their knowledge was superior and were reluctant to examine the causes of health disparities in ways that would generate equitable health outcomes.

3) Working with government officials

Those interviewed for our research project found government officials had their own cultural and political biases. They were often subsumed in the “bureaucracy of government” and had to work within the politics of prevailing ministers. When combined with high staff turnover and a higher proportion of officials who are new migrants or not culturally competent or experts in the subject matter this led to the development of strategies that are likely to generate health inequity.

4) Suspicions of tokenism

Good policy building requires authentic engagement and functional relationships, yet this was not the experience of those we interviewed. They experienced being invited to advisory groups to create an impression of inclusiveness rather than having a substantive input into policy.

A specific example of this is engaging with Māori kaumatua (elders) as only a ceremonial presence. They are often there to open a meeting instead of being invited to bring their particular cultural expertise to ensure there is a stronger Māori voice.

5) Witnessing and experiencing racism

Most participants disclosed witnessing and experiencing behaviour consistent with racism – patterns and practices of disadvantage or marginalisation. Some named it “covert” or “sophisticated” racism.

Specific examples included a health equity champion who didn’t want anything to do with Māori health, and a proposed breast screening program that was going to target Māori women through a mosque, even though Māori make up a very small percentage of people attending mosques.

We consider that it is the government’s obligation to engage with Māori to fulfil obligations under the te Tiriti o Waitangi. But institutional racism within the policy process fails to create meaningful engagement and consultation.

Read more: Explainer: the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi

In our research we observed the determination of Māori and Pasifika leaders to remain focused on health outcomes and to engage with government. More work is needed, but the possible solutions we identified include cultural and anti-racism training for white policymakers.

Authors: Republished with permission

Read more http://theconversation.com/maori-and-pasifika-leaders-report-racism-in-government-health-advisory-groups-112779

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Part-time Maid

arrow_forward

Queensland's coronavirus controversy: past pandemics show us public shaming could harm public health

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Tracy Grimshaw

TRACY GRIMSHAW: Prime Minister, thank you for your time.    PRIME MINISTER: Great to be here. Thank you for the opportunity.    GRIMSHAW: A month or so ago, you probably thought that today's...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Instant Steel Solutions Review

Are you keen on having the right guidance, knowledge and information about the right kind of steel purchases for your industries? If yes, then you are in the right place. There is no doubt that ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Everything You Need To Know About Waste Removal Services 

Waste is capable of posing threats to the environment and general public health. So, if you want to live a healthy life, you need to take care of your waste products. Proper collection and dispo...

News Company - avatar News Company

How Forklift Rental Can Assist During Unexpected Upturns

Although some companies might balk at the prospect of hiring a forklift for the work they need to get done rather than buying it, hiring a forklift can fill a very specific need: being able to m...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion