After weeks of planning, the Our Health hui in Dannevirke resulted in a commitment to consider how to work collaboratively to improve the health and wellbeing of our community.

"The day far exceeded our expectations with in excess of 80 people joining in on the Our Health conversation," Mavis Mullins, Rangitāne executive chairwoman, said.

"I was really humbled and very pleased by the turnout, but I wasn't surprised because the Tararua health statistics didn't make anyone happy with where we are the moment.

"We were inspired, energised and committed to find new solutions to a myriad of challenges. Committed to find new ways of working together, challenging the status quo and just as importantly to uncovering the enablers such as technology, understanding unconscious bias, advocacy and a platform for local information sharing.


"This was not a one-day wonder but the beginning of a community movement to take increased ownership of our issues and there are certainly at least three major conversations going on within our community at the moment."

The goal was to come together to consider, be inspired and then question how organisations might work a little differently to shift the appalling statistics aligned to Tararua and Mullins said this was to be the first step of many.

"The challenge is to sustain the energy and commitment," she said. "The hui connected people and they are having conversations. It's all good stuff, with other businesses seeing how better they can connect with health providers.

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"What was surprising for me were a couple of smaller things, such as the Tararua Health Group, under new management, with new ideas. I'm not saying THG under the old management wasn't doing good things, but this is a fresh set of eyes."

Mullins said she wanted to thank those who took part for their ongoing commitment they made in the 19 towns and communities which made up Tararua.

"We also acknowledge the time people set aside to attend. This is much appreciated," she said.

"I'm feeling very pleased with the further discussions taking place. After the meeting, groups - such as those involved in mental health and substance abuse - are starting to pull together strands for the future."


A report on outcomes and the continued direction agreed on will come later, with Mullins keen to keep the community informed.

Where to from here?

A team was identified to meet and consider outcomes of the workshop within six weeks.

• The team is Katherine Cook, chief executive of MidCentral District Health Board, Tracey Collis, Tararua District mayor, Mark Wills, director of the Tararua Health Group, Mavis Mullins, Rangitāne executive chairwoman, and Neil Filer, the Tararua chairman of Federated Farmers.

• The team will consider and develop a report on the identified priorities with draft pathways which will be distributed, with calls for engagement.

• There will be another conversational hui early in 2019 to report on the progress of the priorities.