After 15 years as chief executive of the Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation, local health heavyweight Roger Taylor is retiring.
He joined the organisation in 2003, shortly after it was started, and his final day there will be on June 30.
Taylor dedicated his time to improving the health and wellness of Western Bay communities, with a particular focus on high-needs groups.
He oversaw dozens of community-based initiatives.
Reflecting on his career, he said he had learned that "having a positive self-regard" was an essential driver of wellness, as people who valued themselves tended to be gainfully employed, in good housing, and with good physical health.
Taylor believed health and wellness were best approached holistically, with organisations working together towards a common goal.
"I'll be leaving content in the knowledge that the PHO is in good heart, is financially strong, and is having its views heard locally and further afield," he said.
Taylor also strongly supported the concept behind the organisation's ownership structure, which is shared between Western Bay general practices and two local iwi, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui.
"It's encouraged dialogue, understanding and a commonality of purpose," he said.
Taylor will remain in the Bay of Plenty, where he intends to explore fresh opportunities, and the Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation will start recruiting for the vacant position soon.
The organisation's co-chairs, Dr Luke Bradford and Paul Stanley, said Taylor had been a driving force behind many of the organisation's successes, "most notably as a champion for equality in health care access through his strong focus on high-needs communities".
"Among his many achievements, Roger has been instrumental in improving after-hours services and supporting healthcare initiatives through marae and hauora," the co-chairs said in a joint statement.
They said Taylor "proudly nurtured" the relationship between iwi and general practices during his time as chief executive.
He also supported autonomy and sovereignty for general practices, allowing them to deliver accessible, high-quality health care to all sectors of the population.
"Roger leaves behind a thriving organisation," Bradford and Stanley said.
"This a testament to his focus on continual improvement and in particular on preserving values and striving for equality."
What is the Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation?
•It is responsible for much of the healthcare in the Western Bay that occurs outside of Tauranga Hospital.
•That includes diabetes, iwi-run hauora, community pharmacies, smoking cessation, palliative care, community nursing, diabetes support, immunisation and dozens of other services, as well as subsidising local residents' visits to their family doctors.