November 21, 2022

Article at NZ Herald

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Māori paediatrician Te Aro Moxon recognised for his outstanding mahi

Paediatrician and senior lecturer at Auckland University Dr Te Aro Moxon has been recognised for excellence in teaching and operationalising Māori health equity by Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand Waikato.

He has won the distinguished Excellence in Clinical Equity Teaching - Te Tohu Hiranga Award. In its second year, the tohu is given to those who exemplify excellence when training doctors, the winner being voted for by their peers.

Nominations were made by the Resident Medical Officers (RMO), a workforce of junior doctors and speciality trainees.

The director of physician education, deputy director of physician education and the clinical unit leader selected Moxon as the recipient.

“It’s an honour to receive this as we all pursue improved health equity in the system,” Moxon said.

“Giving RMOs the opportunity to vote in clinical equity teaching is another empowering step in the process.”

The award criteria canvassed bedside teaching, clinics, tutorials, formal lectures, and practical skills that demonstrate patient and whānau-centred care and a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

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Moxon’s future vision on equity is firmly centred on ensuring that health inequities are reduced for both children and adults.

“We know, based on the statistics, that we have huge inequities across the board in Aotearoa – Māori don’t enjoy as long a life expectancy and [have] worse health outcomes due to ethnicity.”

Moxon, who graduated from Auckland University back in 2009, strongly supports Māori leadership, identifying solutions to improve outcomes with appropriate funding to support them.

“As a clinician, it’s important that we provide teaching to improve the cultural safety, cultural competency, better understanding of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori to better serve inequities.”

Te Aro Moxon's proud parents, dad Sir David Moxon and mum Lady Tureiti Moxon. Photo / Supplied

Understanding the barriers to healthcare and having a targeted focus to remove and reduce them needs to be a focus of the sector too, Moxon believes.

For whānau in the health system, how they ensure they are receiving equitable care is through advocacy, he says.

“Speak with other whānau who are receiving services or kaitiaki and cultural support in the health system.”

If whānau are not being listened to or brushed off, “always seek a second opinion, as someone else may be able to explain or listen better”, he says.

Reflecting on his career to date, Moxon credits the hardworking backbone of Māori health providers for giving him his start.

Te Kōhao Health in Kirikiriroa Hamilton offered him a summer studentship.

“I can definitely say that the experience shaped my perception of Māori health provision and what autonomy looked like, for sure.”

In 2020, Moxon received a Commonwealth scholarship to study at Oxford University for a Masters of Science in global health and epidemiology, focusing on infectious and non-infectious diseases among worldwide populations.

Moxon is the son of Māori health advocate Lady Tureiti Moxon and Sir David Moxon, Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.