Former Hastings District deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers is a possible government appointment to the Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB).

Ms Bowers had a historically-high voter support as a Hastings councillor but that support base eluded her for her bid in the Hawke's Bay Regional Council elections.

Now she is hopeful of being one of four HBDHB appointments made by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, with two incumbents unavailable.

The ministerial appointments are in addition to seven elected HBDHB board members and seek to fill any gaps on the elected board such as skill, experience and community representation.


Ms Bowers said she was approached by the Ministry of Women's Affairs to be a candidate for an appointment before the election results were known.

"At that point I thought it would probably be a good idea, just an option for me depending how the election turned out.

"As it turned out it was probably a wise move to keep my options open."

The Ministry of Women's Affairs seeks to promote female representation in government appointments and asked Ms Bowers because she is on their database.

"I have been on their database for several years now and I have had several ministerial appointments.

Dr Coleman is in the process of making those appointments, as well as appointing the HBDHB chair and deputy chair, with a decision expected before December 5 when the new board starts.

HBDHB chairman Kevin Atkinson said he would chair an interview of potential appointees, with a Health Ministry and iwi representative present.

Mr Atkinson said he had put forward several candidates for consideration that all had "considerable involvement in health".

He would only name three.

Two were current appointees: Ngati Kahungunu Iwi chairman and current HBDHB deputy chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana and former Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott.

The third recommendation was sitting board member and IronMaori co-founder Heather Skipworth, who was unsuccessful in the election.

"I was quite disappointed at losing Heather. She has done a fantastic job over the last three years and I have made no secret of the fact I would be very keen to keep her."

When the voting result was announced she said the main reason she lost her seat was because there were too many Maori running, splitting the Maori vote.

Of the 15 candidates, seven were Maori.

"There is no way I want to deter Maori from standing; we just need to be more strategic about how we do that," she said.

Taking her place is newcomer Ana Apatu, chief executive of the U-Turn Trust and a former senior population health adviser for the HBDHB.

The other two appointees have made themselves unavailable: Wairoa deputy mayor Denise Eaglesome-Karekare and Andrew Blair.

Mr Blair was chief executive of NZX_listed Acurity Health Group after being Royston Hospital's manager.

He was recently appointed chairman of the Southern Partnership Group to oversee the redevelopment of hospital services in Dunedin.

Tukituki MP Craig Foss said the HBDHB appointment process was robust, with potential board appointees interviewed by government "just to get across the threshold" before HBDHB consideration.

"I haven't nominated anybody but of the names I know I am supportive of them all," he said.

Mr Atkinson said he expected to be re-appointed chairman.

"That will be subject to Cabinet decision in late November, but there is nothing in my readings of the tea leaves that indicates I won't be."