Despite a petition calling for the return of the Maori support service to Rotorua Hospital, Lakes DHB says Hunga Manaaki is unlikely to be reinstated.

The DHB ended its contract with Hunga Manaaki provider Te Kahui Hauora in June after 20 years, replacing it with a new community-based service.

A statement from Lakes DHB said its position on the service would probably not change.

"Lakes DHB has a new kaupapa Maori service that started in July and is going very well.

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"The decision by Lakes DHB to change the service in order to have a greater impact on the significant inequalities being experienced by Maori, is unlikely to be revisited."

Nearly 4000 people have signed a petition started by a Rotorua Hospital doctor to reinstate the service.

Local iwi Ngati Whakaue also expressed concern over the service's axing in a statement.

"For many years Hunga Manaaki have provided essential services for Maori who require medical attention at Rotorua Hospital.

"The service has ensured that culturally appropriate care has been available for our people and that Maori protocol and processes are integrated into the care provided."

Five people lost their jobs as a result of the change, which brought separate services at Taupo Hospital, Rotorua Hospital and mental health services under the same provider.

DHB chief executive Ron Dunham agreed in June to meet iwi leaders who were unhappy about the change, which he has done, the DHB said.

"Meetings have been held between our chief executive Ron Dunham and iwi representatives. Discussions have been ongoing."

The change to the service came after an evaluation of services in 2015 and a consultation last year, the DHB said.

"The new service will have a wider community focus and support families when they are discharged from hospital and go home," a statement said.

The petition, on change.org, was started by hospital registrar Dr Mania Campbell Seymour who wrote that Hunga Manaaki was a "crucial service" that "delivers a high standard of care".

Many people who signed commented that they had benefited from the service themselves, or members of their families had.

The land Rotorua Hospital was built on was gifted by Ngati Whakaue in 1880.