Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority has made permanent appointments to three Deputy Chief Executive roles:

  • DCE – Mātauranga Māori
  • DCE – Service Development and Relations
  • DCE – Governance and Advisory.

Kingi Kiriona (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Apa) has been appointed as DCE – Mātauranga Māori, Jade Sewell (Ngāti Maru, Te Arawa, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Porou) as DCE – Service Development and Relations and Craig Owen as DCE – Governance and Advisory.

The DCE – Mātauranga Māori role provides leadership and direction on mātauranga Māori (bodies of Māori knowledge and ways of knowing), including tikanga and te reo, to support Te Aka Whai Ora in the pursuit of its vision and objectives.

Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Executive, Riana Manuel says Kingi Kiriona will bring more than more than 15 years’ experience in the development of te ao Māori focussed programmes and in senior leadership and governance roles across the public and private sector.

“Kingi has extensive experience in te ao Māori, and his leadership will be vital to ensuring our approach to mātauranga Māori is robust and will enable us to build Māori cultural capability and capacity across the health sector,” says Riana.

Kingi is looking for forward to being part of a landmark health entity focused on improving health outcomes for whānau Māori.

“This is a genuine opportunity to make a difference, especially for communities who have not always had ready access to health care. The importance of Māori health solutions, including Te Manatū Hauora Māori, is crucial to improving not only the health of Māori, but of all whānau,” says Kingi.

The DCE – Service Development and Relations role includes commissioning te ao Māori solutions developing the Māori provider workforce, with a focus primary and community care, oranga hinengaro, and hospital and specialist services.

Jade Sewell joins Te Aka Whai Ora from the former Waikato District Health Board where as an operations director where she led a range of hospital and specialist services to deliver acute, planned and preventative health services to support better outcomes for communities.  Over the last two years this included support of district leadership for COVID-19 response.

“Jade has been a health champion for many years and her commitment to Māori whānau is underpinned by the fact she has worked in a number of roles, from development of adolescent residential addiction services to social housing initiatives,” says Riana.

Authentic relationships are a guiding principle for Jade professionally and personally and challenges her to ensure to always put whānau at the centre of all the mahi.  

“I want to drive transformation and innovation within the current health system, and further embed a te ao Māori worldview in the fabric of health infrastructure. I am committed to developing a commissioning process that guarantees Māori health improvement and work throughout our korowai of health to achieve this aspiration,” says Jade.

They will join Craig Owen, who has been appointed as DCE – Governance and Advisory after serving in the Interim role.

“Craig has played an integral role in ensuring we have the right systems in place to support and provide governance and advisory services across the organisation. He brings a wealth of experience from across the public sector which is vital as we look to influence genuine change in the health system,” says Riana.

Craig previously held Deputy Secretary roles at Te Puni Kōkiri and the Department of Labour and has worked for a wide range of government agencies including the Ministry for Social Development, State Services Commission, Social Investment Agency and Dept of Internal Affairs. He also helped set up Te Mātāwai, worked on business cases for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and Te Matatini and held Crown entity monitoring roles at Manatū Taonga and Ministry of Justice.  He sits on audit and risk committees for Te Māngai Pāho, Te Taura Whiri, Oranga Tamariki and the Education Review Office.

“Te Aka Whai Ora, working with Te Whatu Ora, has been given the opportunity to change the way the health system delivers to Māori and improve health outcomes.  I am a strong believer that great data and information creates the opportunity for great decisions and my role is to ensure that governance with Te Aka Whai Ora is supported by the systems, policies and processes to make those decisions,” says Craig.

The three leaders join Juanita Te Kani (DCE –  System Strategy and Policy) and Merewaakana Kingi (DCE – Finance & Support Services), who were appointed earlier in the year, as well as Nigel Chee who is the interim DCE – Monitoring and interim DCE - Change and Transformation.

“We have a high calibre of experienced leaders who have put their hand up to come on board the waka to support this important mahi and help us to build a robust, responsive and agile organisation.

“This team ensures we are well placed to influence genuine system change and deliver on health priorities that will benefit whānau Māori and all communities,” says Riana.

Kingi Kiriona and Jade Sewell will take up their appointments in early 2023.

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