Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone

18 December 2017

Being involved in health in Aotearoa is a challenge. I mean this for the people in our community maintaining their wellness, and that of their whānau/families, and for those who turn to the health system for advice, support and care. Then there are the people who ensure the system works as it should – from the Minister, through our governance, and right through to every person working to provide the advice, support and care.

This year has seen all of us challenged more than ever. That challenge in itself is not a bad thing however, it does emphasise that to succeed with challenge requires a team effort and I am grateful at how much this has been expressed across our health system and in the community.

Increasingly we are seeing the awareness of determinants of health being applied in how we are looking at and responding to health need in the community. It is rewarding to hear people throughout health refer to the lives behind the health conditions and statistics, to look for ways in which we can improve the effectiveness of services, not only treatment but also, more importantly, facilitating the living of long, healthy lives. There have been some significant steps taken in Tairāwhiti in 2017, more joined up work than ever and a targeting of care to the needs of Tairāwhiti people. I say thank you to everyone who has had a part in that and encourage you to think bigger for 2018.

We do operate in a two-level system in health. We need to keep both the day-to-day service and excellence going, while also delivering on the aspirational. I therefore also thank everyone who has had a part in delivering the day to day. The myriad of thoughts and actions that make things better for people. The attention to detail, the mindfulness of the individual, and their context within a whānau/family.

Then there is the tangible of the period ahead. Across all of Tairāwhiti, there will be people devoting time to ensuring care remains and is responsive to changing need. Those of us who can take a break are indebted to those who will be at work; we thank you and trust that you also will be able to share happy times with family and friends.

In turning to 2018, I especially want to ask that we draw together to continue the momentum we have developed in the year that is ending. There is so much to achieve, with the promise of more significant developments that we will deliver or support others to achieve. Inexorable, relentless, persistent; the drive to achieve Hauora Tairāwhiti.

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy a happy and safe time with a healthy mix of fun, food and aroha. 2018 will be another year for us all to shine, together, in the best of health and happiness.

Kia hari Kirihimete me te Tau Hou

Jim