Please Help – Maori and Pacific Island Services axed in the Hutt Valley


Thank you for taking the time to read this message
Hutt Valley District Health Board (DHB)
Hutt Valley District Health Board recently announced its intention to axe specialist services for Maori (kaupapa) and Pacific Island clients experiencing mental health difficulties. Senior Managers could have acted in partnership and supported these services to flourish. Instead, they were cut. Read about the backlash against this decision (Dominion post & Hutt News)

We believe that undermining, failing to support and eventually axing these services is evidence of institutional racism within Hutt Valley DHB. Please Help.

If you are a Maori or Pacific Island resident of the Hutt Valley, you (or your whanau) will no longer have access to specialist cultural services. If you are a health care or public sector worker (anywhere in NZ/Aotearoa), specialist cultural services may soon be axed in your organisation. Maybe you have been the victim of or witnessed institutional racism. The reality is that this issue effects all of us. Please help, your actions can make a difference.

How You Can Help

**Forward this e-mail on to as many people as possible (e.g. colleagues, friends, family). and let people know what Hutt Valley District Health Board have done.

**Petition Hutt Valley DHB to take a first step in eradicating institutional racism by requesting an independent cultural audit by The Human Rights Commission. For convenience you can cut and paste the following template –

I am concerned that Hutt Valley DHB’s decision to cut specialist mental health services for Maori and Pacific Island clients may be a reflection of institutional racism within your organisation. As a first step to identifying and resolving this issue I would like to request that you ask The Human Rights Commission to undertake an independent cultural audit of Hutt Valley DHB’s mental health service.

E-mail petitions should be sent to  (head of mental health) and copied to  (CEO of Hutt  Valley DHB) and  (Tariana Turia – Associate Minister of Health).

**If you are a Maori or Pacific Island resident of the Hutt Valley region and you use one of the specialist services to be axed, you can register a complaint with The Human Rights Commission. ‘Forced integration’ is in contravention to The Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples. The complaint process is outlined in the following link.

Read more about institutional racism in NZ/Aotearoa health care at the following links –

Thank you for taking the time to read this e- mail. You can make a difference. Please help.

UPDATE 17th Sept 2009

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Once you send a petition email you may now receive a counter email by Jill Lane (of Hutt Valley DHB)  actually denying the fact that specialist mental health services for maori and pacific island clients have been axed. Sadly, this is the kind of misrepresentation and inaccuracy that has lead us to take this course of action and further underlines the need for an independent cultural audit of Hutt Valley DHB mental health services. Jill Lane describes existing Kaupapa Maori Mental Health and Pacific Island Services as “silos”. She goes on to describe plans to ‘pepper pot’ Maori and Pacific Island clinicians through generic teams, the belief being that this will better address the cultural needs of clients. Treating Maori and Pacific Island clinicians as ‘individual additives’ to stengthen mainstream teams is, of itself, quite insensitive. In addition, it highlights a troubling lack of awareness (or disregard) for Maori and Pacific Island cultures, practices and approaches to recovery from mental illness. Kaupapa and Pasifica teams are premised on collective approaches like whanau ora, manakitanga, whanaungatanga etc. The therapeutic, restorative and healing powers of these practices and Maori / Pacific models of care are therefore impossible if a kaupapa or Pasifica team is dispersed, integrated, diluted or otherwise assimilated.

For us, the DHB’s monocultural response is simply more evidence of the necessity for an independent review of cultural safety / responsiveness. It is telling that their response makes no mention of our continuing request for an independent review. Again, thank you for taking the time to read about our concerns.

Please feel free to circulate this email to any interested parties.

For more information, please email: Hutt-institutional racism []


  1. There seems to be a lot of talk about racism and in the same breath wanting separate Maori and Pacific Island services. A lot of speaking with forked tongue. Any professional dealing with individual cases would recognise and deal with accordingly, the issues of culture if it is relevant to the patients circumstances whether it be Maori, Pacific islander, Pakeha or any other race.


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