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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chief Operating Officer quits Ngai Tahu Holdings

Monday March 30

There's more disruption at the top of Ngai Tahu's commercial arm.

Ngai Tahu Holding's Corporation's chief operating officer Andrew Harrison has announced his departure after six years with the South Island tribe.

It comes just weeks after Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu sacked Wally Stone as chair of the business.

Interim chair Linda Constable says as far as she's aware the events are not linked, although after Mr Stone's departure and the leaking of an internal runanga report describing the behaviour of Holdings Corporation executives as inadequate, the board issued a statement expressing confidence in Mr Harrison.

“No doubt all of that would have had some impact on Andrew, nobody likes to be part of media speculation and for that reason I won’t speculate any more about what that meant to Andrew or the organization,” Ms Constable says.

The search is now on for someone with the skills to run a $600 million business.


A survey commissioned by the Health Research Council has found many Maori have such negative experiences of their health services that they are unlikely to return.

Peter Jansen from Mauri Ora Associates, who conducted the research, says about 20 percent of Maori reported negative attitudes from health professionals and hospital staff.

He says that affects their response to treatment.

“Whether somebody follows the recommendations of the healthcare provider depends for the most part on the respect and trust that’s developed in the relationship, so if we are going to improve Maori health we have to make sure the healthcare provider and the Maori patient are on the same wavelength,” Mr Jansen says.

He says more work is needed to improve cultural awareness in the health system.


The head of the Health Research Council says the Maori Experiences of Care survey will make a valuable contribution to health policy.

Robin Olds says why many people think the cure for problems in the health system is obvious, it's important to ask Maori themselves what their perceptions are.

“You need that king of solid evidence, good research leads to good evidence and if you’re going to make changes to the system or make changes to policy, make changes to the way healthcare is delivered, then you need that evidence that comes from high quality research,” Dr Olds says.


The Internet has given a tetraplegic Ngati Hine man the opportunity to create a new career.

Mosiah Cooper broke his spine when he was 12, diving into a river and hitting his head on a rock.

That was 21 years ago, and it took him six years just to regain the power of speech.

Now he uses a pen in his mouth to tap the keys of the computer he uses to create dorave.co.nz, a web site which allowed visitors to rate consumer products.

He says the Internet has helped him create a new life.

“Having the disability that I have, the Internet and the ability to trade things on there really provides that bridge so people can have access to a new world,” Mr Cooper says.


Supporters of Te Aute College are making a fresh attempt to resolve a long-standing injustice over the Hawkes Bay Maori boarding school's endowment.

Negotiations with the previous government broke down just before the election, with the Te Aute Trust Board saying its concerns over historic losses were being ignored.

When the school was founded in 1854 Ngati Kahungunu hapu Te Whatuiapiti gifted 7000 acres of land, which the Crown has subsequently sold off or leased in perpetuity at peppercorn rents.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says he received a delegation from the school community and tribal elders to reopen the talks.

“The local farmers who lease the land have got quite rich in there assets and the school’s got poor and yet the school owns the land and so it’s something the Government is going to take up,” he says.

Because as an old boy Dr Sharples might be seen to have a conflict of interest, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson will handle the claim.


Ngai Tahu is looking for a new chief executive to oversee its $600 million investment portfolio.

It follows the resignation of Andrew Harrison from Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation.

Interim chair Linda Constable says the performance of the group under Mr Harrison's leadership had been outstanding, and included a strategy of partnering for growth with organisation like Christchurch City Council and Talley's Group.

She says the board is looking for a mature commercially-focused chief executive.

“Ngai Tahu always looks for the best person for the job, whether it’s an employee or a director, and we will be doing that, and if a good Ngai Tahu person turns up, so much the better,” Ms Constable says.

As far as she is aware Mr Harrison's resignation was not linked to Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu's sacking of Holdings Corporation chair Wally Stone.


The Health Research Council is celebrating its success in creating links between researchers and communities.

The council has just held its annual Hui Whakapiripiri, allowing Maori researchers to share their findings.

Chief executive Robin Olds says carefully targeted funding in recent years has produced a wealth of high quality research that is improving Maori health outcomes.

“One of the benefits of the processes the Health Research Council uses is it establishes the links between the people doing the research, between the communities who want the research, and then between the service providers and the policy makers, so the whole process is joined up,” Dr Olds says.

Building a Maori health research workforce is one of the council's funding priorities.


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