Equity matters - Kia tū te ōritetanga

This page is dedicated to NZNO's Equity Project Kia Tū Te Ōritetanga which aims to support staff and members in building a just, healthy and equitable Aotearoa New Zealand. You can watch the launch of the equity project

Here you can find resources on what equity is, examples of equity and health in Aotearoa New Zealand, and other related topics like institutional racism and colonisation.

This page will be updated on an ongoing basis.

What is equity?

The Ministry of Health's definition of equity is:

In Aotearoa New Zealand, people have differences in health that are not only avoidable but unfair and unjust. Equity recognises different people with different levels of advantage require different approaches and resources to get equitable health outcomes (MoH, 2019).

Equity and health

NZ Medical Association Health Equity Position Statement

Health equity: An ethical principle concerning the absence of systematic disparities in health (or in the major social determinants of health) between groups with different levels of underlying social advantage/disadvantage.

He Ara Hauora Māori: A Pathway to Māori Health Equity

This document outlines the Medical Council of New Zealand’s position on how doctors can support the achievement of best health outcomes for Māori.

Dr. Camara Jones Explains the Cliff of Good Health

Everyone should have the opportunity to achieve good health. But, as Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones explains through her cliff analogy, that’s often not the case. We can reduce health disparities and better connect people to high-quality medical care, but to really make a difference, we need to address the social determinants of health and equity that protect some people and push others off the cliff.

Social Determinants of Equity 

Dr Camara Jones' presentation at the 10th Annual We Can Do Better Conference in Portland Oregon, 2019. She seeks to broaden the national health debate to include not only universal access to high quality health care, but also attention to the social determinants of health (including poverty) and the social determinants of equity (including racism).

Alice Snedden’s Bad News: Healthcare Inequity | The racial bias in our health system

Why do Māori live on average 7 years less than Pākehā? Alice delves into the health system and asks if more money should be spent on Māori health and less on her digestive system.

Featuring Kirimoana Willoughby, Sariah Witika, Dr Heather Came, Janell Dymus-Kurei and Pat Snedden.

Equity frameworks

Equity of Health Care for Māori: A framework

Equity of Health Care for Māori: A framework guides health practitioners, health organisations and the health system to achieve equitable health care for Māori.

Auckland University Equity – Te Ara Tautika

WAI 2575 - Kaupapa Māori Inquiry

The WAI 2575 Kaupapa Māori Inquiry highlights the breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi by failing to design and administer the current healthcare system to actively address persistent Māori health inequities. A common theme through these is the imperative to address inequities with special reference to the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi: 

  • Tino rangatiratanga
  • Equity
  • Active protection
  • Partnership
  • Options

Read the summary of the Hauora Report on Stage 1 of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based practice in health promotion

This free comprehensive resource has been written by a team led by Heather Came (PhD), a specialist in the field of applying te Tiriti o Waitangi to practice. The resource builds on the legacy of Dr Irihapeti Ramsden and cultural safety in nursing.

A kōrero with Moana Jackson - webinar run by Te Tiriti Based Futures 2020

Why are there differences between Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Crown’s English-language version and what did Māori intend in entering into the Treaty agreement?

Network Waitagi Ōtautahi outlines the important differences between Te Tiriti o Waitangi and The Treaty of Waitangi

Institutional Racism

Mopping up Institutional Racism: Activism on a Napkin

In this article, Heather Came and Maria Humphries focus on how institutional racism manifests within public health policies and funding practices in this country. 

Moana Jackson: Understanding racism in this country

Dr Moana Jackson writes about the roots of racism in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Upholding Te Tiriti, ending institutional racism and Crown inaction on health equity​

This paper written by Heather Came, Tim McCreanor, Leanne Manson, and Kerri Nuku, argues that institutional racism, a key determinant of health inequalities, needs to be acknowledged and addressed within the health sector.

NZ Human Rights resources

Give nothing to racism resources from the Human Rights Commision. 

Racism and Child Health

This strategic review is part of a broader Ministry of Health-funded project that aims to expand our understanding of racism as a determinant of child health and driver of future adult health inequities. It considers the relationships between racism and child health in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Representations of Māori in colonial health policy in Aotearoa from 2006-2016: a barrier to the pursuit of health equity​

This novel study interrogates representations of Māori within colonial public health policy between 2006 and 2016. Colonial policy refers to generic or mainstream policy that are designed for ‘all’ New Zealanders.


Ministry of Women’s Affairs

This resource explains how unconscious bias affects women and leadership, outlining some key actions individuals and businesses can take.

Carla Houkamau's What you can’t see won't hurt you

This paper draws from empirical research and theories formulated in social psychology. It analyses the relevance of implicit bias and stereotyping for Māori health outcomes.

Unconscious Bias and Education

Research on unconscious bias by Anton Blank, Dr Carla Houkamau and Dr Hautahi Kingi. 

Ableism and Equity

Equality and Equity of Access to Healthcare for People with Intellectual Disabilities

This article highlights problems encountered by people with intellectual disabilities when they seek to access healthcare. Four key domains for change (practice, education, policy and research) are explored and some practical strategies for achieving change are identified.

Cultural Safety 

Why cultural safety rather than cultural competency is required to achieve health equity: a literature review and recommended definition

A paper by Elana Curtis, Rhys Jones, David Tipene-Leach, Curtis Walker, Belinda Loring , Sarah-Jane Paine and Papaarangi Reid.

What is cultural safety and why does it matter?

Cultural safety provides a structure which can guide or assist a nurse to provide and manage care in a way that protects and sustains a person’s identity and wellbeing.

Learning and education modules on understanding bias in health care

Learning and education videos developed by Health Safety and Quality New Zealand for Wiki Haumaru Tūroro | Patient Safety Week 2019. 

Resources from the Medical Council of New Zealand on cultural safety. 


Where to next? Decolonisation and the stories in the land

An excerpt from an essay by Te Tiriti and constitutional law expert Dr Moana Jackson, taken from Imagining Decolonisation, the latest in the BWB Text series from Bridget Williams Books.

James Cook and the Doctrine of Discovery – 5 Things to Know

In 2019 it will be 250 years since this process was carried out in Aotearoa New Zealand, by James Cook. Here are 5 important things to know about that.

Land of the Long White Cloud

A documentary series that tells the stories of white New Zealanders who are confronting our colonial past and present, 250 years after Cook’s arrival. Made with the support of NZ On Air.

Resources to help you on your te reo Māori journey

Kōrero Māori - Māori language resource book from the Department of Labour.

Tikanga Guidelines.

Tikanga Guidelines compiled by Capital PHO - Upoko o te Ika. 

Matariki - Te Whetū o Te Tau Hau

This booklet (Compiled by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori - Māori Language Commission) provides information and ideas about Matariki and how to identify and celebrate it in contemporary Aotearoa. The next 20 years of celestial dates for Matariki and the New Year are included on the final page.

He Papa Tikanga - NZ Certificate in Tikanga (Mātauranga Māori)

A course from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Learn about traditions, concepts, values and protocols and understand why Māori do things a certain way. Find out how to apply some of these concepts in your home, workplace and community. Challenge your thinking and reflect on your own beliefs and values and how they relate to those of other cultures.

Learning kōtahitanga - waiata mai

In the spirit of kōtahitanga and collectivity, and in our committment to normalising te reo and tikanga, here are some waiata you can learn. By learning these you can practice pronunciation, learn new words, and be able to participate in hui, karakia, pōwhiri and mihi whakatau!  

Pūrea nei

Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi

Mā Te Kahukura

Ka Waiata 

E Hara i te Mea

Mahuru - Pere Wihongi

Hollie Smith & Teeks - Whakaaria Mai

Stan Walker, Fortunate and Vince Harder sing Whakaaria Mai