EQUITY: Abstract concepts have cold, hard consequences

July 1, 2021

In te reo Māori, co-editor Joel Maxwell welcomes readers to our Matariki edition, before focusing – in reo Pākehā – on the importance of equity in our work.

Nau mai, haere mai ki a Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand mō te marama o Hūrae.


Ko te take mātua o te marama nei: ko te rere mai anō o te kāhui whetū a Matariki.


He tau hou, he timatanga hou, he wā tika kia whakaaro mō ngā ahua o tōu tātou ao – mō āu tātou mahi, ngā wero, ngā ahuatanga katoa o te tau ki te heke mai.

He wā tika anō hoki, kia whakaaro mō ngā mahi, ngā wero – kua tutuki, kahore anō kua tutuki – o te tau kua pahure ake.

He wā whakaaro, otira, he wā maumahara ano, mō ngā tāngata kua wehe atu i te po, ki o rātou okiokinga, ki te taha o ōu tātou tupuna. He mihi nui ki a rātou – ngā tāngata kua huri tuara ki tēnei ao.


He mihi nui anō hoki ki a koutou, ki a tātou katoa, e noho tonu ana i tēnei ao kikokiko. I te ao hauora.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

E aro ana tātou i tēnei marama ki ngā ahuatanga, ngā tikanga o tēnei mea “equity”, me ngā hononga o te kaupapa nei ki te Tiriti o Waitangi, arā, te tuapapa o tōu tātou whare.

I waitohutia Te Tiriti, e ōu tātou tupuna – engari, he pātai nui tēnei: Kua ū tonu te kāwanatanga i ngā ture, i ngā wahanga ke, Māori mai, Pākehā mai, me ngā take katoa o tēnei mea?

No reira, kia pai te tau hou! Kia pai tau tātou whakahirahiratanga o tenei mea, a Matariki.

Ko te hiahia, he rangi, he marama, he tau pai, mō tātou katoa.

Equity workshop challenging, cathartic

Happy new year to our hard-working health workers, and welcome to the latest edition of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand.

This month we celebrate the arrival of a new year – Matariki – with an edition that includes a look at the kaupapa of equity and our foundational document, te Tiriti o Waitangi.

I was lucky enough to join a workshop run for NZNO staff covering the kaupapa.

It was a heck of an experience – confronting, challenging and, for myself at least, more than a little cathartic.

People at the workshop posed some tough questions, which were encouraged, never avoided, by facilitator Heather Came.

Personally, it focused my thinking about equity – something that had always seemed important, but was difficult to nail down.

This, I think, has always been problematic.

I know there are pressing demands on our minds and bodies every day – perhaps none more so than for nurses.

After all, health and lives are at stake.

Right now a nurse is taking a handover from the last shift; right now a nurse is getting meds out of Pyxis, prepping for an IV. They are checking vital signs, dealing with patients’ bodily functions, talking to doctors on their rounds, vaccinating, organising orderlies and notes, taking phone calls, helping confused patients, helping confused families, helping confused nurses.

They can, on a good shift, even snatch a meal break.

Given the sheer weight of this workload, I also know concepts like equity and the place of te Tiriti seem distant from our everyday lives. When you’re staring down the barrel of another 12-hour shift, why would you want to think about abstract concepts like equity?

But the reality is that Māori people end up needing health services at significantly higher rates than the rest of New Zealand; and when they do, they don’t fare as well.

Abstract concepts always end up knocking on our door with cold, hard consequences.


I think it’s worth taking a look at this equity thing. After all, as one of our contributors to this section Heather Came points out, it appears that when it comes to equity – health and lives are at stake after all.

Happy new year, everybody.