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New Māori heart health programme engages kanohi ki te kanohi

Updated: May 6, 2022

The Waikato DHB is rolling out a new initiative, Hāpaitia te Hauora Manawa, targeted specifically at Māori to improve heart health. Key to the success of this programme is the involvement of Patumahoe Leaf-Wright, also known as Patu, who will be engaging with Māori, kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face), across Waikato.

Patu was inspired to take a key role in this programme after working in hospitals and spending a lot of time at people’s bedsides, looking after acutely unwell patients.

“I have always been passionate about the care I give to Māori patients; it has always been something really important to me,” says Patu.
“However, as time went on, I began to feel that I wanted to make more of a difference, and to be part of a solution that would stop Māori from needing to come to hospital.

Hāpaitia te Hauora Manawa is a proactive, preventative, values-based programme and it has a kaupapa and a vision that resonated with Patu.

“I want to keep our people well with their whānau in the community,” says Patu.
“Hāpaitia te Hauora Manawa is about enabling whānau to understand more about their health and empowering us to take control of our health in a way that is meaningful to us as Māori”.

Māori are currently underserved in cardiology and have higher death rates than the average population. This group are also at an increased risk of heart disease and are:

- 2 times more likely to be admitted with angina.

- 9.8 times more likely to be admitted with congestive heart failure.

- 2.8 times more likely to be admitted with a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Māori men in the age group (45-64 years) also make up the biggest proportion of cardiac deaths (39%).

Hauora Manawa aims to turn these statistics around by engaging directly with Māori in remote areas. Specialist Nurses like Patu will be connecting with Māori communities to carry out simple diagnostic tests, such as a blood test and heart monitoring.

It is hoped that through early diagnosis and a proactive approach, a care plan of wrap-around support can be developed for Māori who are at risk of heart disease.

“What I really care about is giving Māori the power to take control of their health in a way that is enhancing their mana through an enriching experience,” says Patu.
“I hope that there will be people who will get to experience an interaction with health that gives them a sense of what could be – and that they come away feeling empowered to take charge of their health.
“Ultimately we want people’s interaction with us to be positive so that if an issue comes up in the future, they will be more likely to get the help they need by engaging with wider health services.”

If you are interested in finding out more about your own heart health and being part of Hāpaitia te Hauora Manawa, you can register your interest here and one of our Specialist Nurses will be in touch.

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