Adrian Te Patu: adapting to the environment
Health Promotion Forum is privileged to have had a brief catch-up with Adrian Te Patu. Adrian is a past board member of our organisation and is currently co-vice president of the Public Health Association of New Zealand. Last year he became a member of the World Federation of Public Health Associations and has just begun leading the Federation’s indigenous working group. Here are a few words from Adrian. We know you’ve had a few roles over the years. Could you tell us about some of those? I really enjoyed representing my communities as an elected member of our Community Board on the Christchurch City Council. Local government is having an ever-increasing role in our lives and it was an advantage for me coming from public health where thorny divisive issues like fluoridation are the norm. I was elected before the earthquakes and the response, recovery and community engagement principles were paramount. I particularly enjoyed having the confidence of Ngai Tahu in my role. What are some highlights from your work over the years? What I particularly enjoyed in the early 2000’s was being a member of the Think Tank of the Te Waipounamu Health Promotion Coalition. This South Island group was an active part of the Health Promotion Forum that organised hui, symposia, discussion platforms and networked across the island. Some significant leaders in health today were part of this and we were supported wonderfully by our coordinator Helen Rance. Tell us about current projects you are working on It’s a privilege to lead the newly established “Indigenous Working Group” of the governing council of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. This is a fantastic opportunity to promote the plight of some of the 370 million recognised indigenous peoples of the planet. This association is a recognised civil society by the World Health Organisation alongside significant organisations such as; International Red Cross, The Order of St John, Doctors Without Borders and others. Our working group is in the forming stage at present. What do you see as the emerging ideas, issues and foci for/of health promotion and public health? The importance and continuity of the HPF and the PHA. This requires us to be relevant and to adapt to the environment no matter what the political sway or appetite is. No government or coalition should determine the right of these organisations to exist. So we make it so…. Any other comments? The awarding of the 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion to the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand in Rotorua 2019 is an amazing accomplishment and is part of a well planned and executed series of events. This is due to years of dedication under the stewardship of Sione Tu’itahi.