A new chair has been appointed to the Whanganui District Health Board among a changing of the guard throughout the country's DHBs.
Ken Whelan has been named as the chairman and joins the Whanganui DHB with more than 40 years' experience in both the New Zealand and Australian health sectors.
He has previously been chief executive of Northland and Capital & Coast DHBs, and was deputy director general of health and purchasing for New South Wales Health from 2012 to 2015.
One of Whelan's recent roles was serving as the chief executive of Queensland's Metro North Hospital, where he oversaw a budget of $2.9 billion and more than 18,000 staff.
Whelan is the current Crown monitor for Counties Manukau and Waikato DHBs, and will replace Dot McKinnon as Whanganui DHB chair. McKinnon was appointed as chair in 2013 and 2016.
Annette Main, who was re-elected to the DHB in this year's local elections, has been announced as deputy chairwoman, while Materoa Mar, Soraya Peke-Mason and Talia Anderson-Town have been appointed as members.
All appointments are for three years from Monday, December 9, 2019, until December 2022.
Alongside Main, Charlie Anderson, Philippa Baker-Hogan, Josh Chandulal-Mackay, Judith MacDonald, Stuart Hylton and Graham Adams finished in the top spots in this year's local DHB election.
In all, 76 appointments have been announced for DHBs throughout New Zealand, and eight elected members appointed as chair or deputy chair.
The appointments include 13 new chairs and four Māori chairs.
NZTA to front Whanganui district councillors
Dani Lebo: Physical activity is linked to healthy mental wellbeing
Health Minister David Clark said the appointments throughout the country represent a significant changing of the guard.
"District health boards play a vital role delivering health care to New Zealanders," he said.
"It's critical that they are well led, and well governed."
The alterations also bring about a change in diversity.
"Almost exactly half of the appointed board members are women, and I have appointed four Māori board chairs, compared to none in 2016," Clark said.
"For the first time, the number of Māori chairs and deputies reflects the proportion of our Māori population. This is crucial to improving health outcomes for New Zealand's Māori communities."
The minister said he expected the new boards to deliver on the Government's clear expectations around financial management, improved services and management of capital infrastructure.
"While there are a range of ongoing challenging issues in health, timely access to services remains a key priority.
"For example, there needs to be meaningful improvement in access to first specialist assessments, surgery and radiology so people get the care they need."
To assist with the process, Clark said board chairs and members will be supported by an improved Ministry of Health induction and development programme.
"This will ensure DHB boards have the support they need to provide strong governance and leadership."