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Health Educ Behav. 2000 Jun;27(3):288-95.

Public health strategies for Mäori.

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School of Mäori Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


When the New Zealand Department of Public Health was established in 1900, Maöri health status was compromised to the extent that survival itself was threatened. The remarkable turnaround was unexpected and owes much to pioneer Maöri professionals, especially the first Maöri medical practitioner, Dr. Maui Pomare, who graduated in the United States in 1899. As "Medical Officer to the Maöris," and later as Minister of Health, he made major changes through a five-part strategy: recognizing Maöri community leaders as leaders in health, improving access to societal goods and services (especially housing and education), appealing to cultural practices that were linked to good health, wise use of political power, and developing a skilled Maori health workforce to complement community leadership. Although mental health disorders and lifestyle illnesses have largely replaced infectious diseases, malnutrition, and tuberculosis, Pomare's strategy has continuing relevance and warrants serious consideration as a model for health promotion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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