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Māui Pōmare & Māori health

Maui Pomare, New Zealand (Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Toa)
Maui Pomare, New Zealand (Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Toa) 1911, Photograph by William Andrews Collis (1853-1920), courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand (W A Collis Collection, 1/1-012109-G)

Maui Pomare (1876–1930) was New Zealand's first Maori doctor and Native Health Officer. He embarked on a journey to improve Maori health and welfare in the early 20th century.

At the time, Maori were widely considered a 'dying race' – 100 years of contact with European settlers and diseases had taken their toll. Maori infant mortality was at least three times that of Pakeha (European New Zealanders). 

Pomare ventured on horseback to remote Maori villages, armed with an immunisation kit and other equipment. He also wrote infant-care manuals for Maori, incorporating ideas from his colleague Truby King.

The tireless Pomare was dubbed 'a one-man nationwide health service for Maori on a shoestring budget'.



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