He ihu waka, he ihu whenua
A great waka journey has reached its destination
Tui Ora is thrilled to welcome Alana Ruakere (Taranaki, Te Atiawa) as their new Pou Tū Kūrae/Chief Executive, effective 31 January, 2023.
Alana is currently the Director for the Crown Response Unit that oversees the Governments response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. The Royal Commission is looking into what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in State and faith-based care in Aotearoa New Zealand between the years 1950-99.
Alana, who will be returning to Taranaki to take up the role, will work alongside departing Chief Executive Hayden Wano for a period of two months to ensure a smooth transition. Hayden has been with Tui Ora since its inception in 1998 during which time it has grown from a team of four to nearly 200 kaimahi delivering 35 whānau-centred services throughout Taranaki. He is confident that now is a good time to step back and is looking forward to working with Alana as he hands over the role: “I’m incredibly excited about Alana’s appointment,” said Wano. “She is taking over at a pivotal time in the history of Tui Ora. Reforms to our health system and the establishment of Te Aka Whai Ora (the Māori Health Authority) present enormous opportunities in kaupapa Māori hauora. Tui Ora have already set a new strategy to align ourselves with the reforms and it will be fantastic to have a new leader bring new energy and ideas to this important role. I wish Alana every success and look forward to working with her in the coming months.”
The appointment was made following an extensive six-month search for a new leader with the experience and vision to guide Tui Ora into the next stage of its evolution. Deputy Board Chair Shelley Kopu oversaw the recruitment process ensuring a long lead time to identify the right candidate: “We are delighted to welcome Alana to the Tui Ora whānau. Alana has an exceptional track record in public service, particularly in the health sector, and we are confident her skills, experience and knowledge of government will bring many benefits to Tui Ora. She is passionate about creating positive change for Māori hauora which include improving access and equity in health services and empowering whānau to take charge of their own health journey.”
Alana was raised in Ōpunake and New Plymouth by her parent’s nurse Anne and father Tony, a GP who established Te Atiawa Medical Centre, the first kaupapa Māori GP practice in Taranaki in 1994. She attended Ōpunake High School and later New Plymouth Girls’ High School. Alana started her career as a tutor in mental health support at WITT before establishing Te Rau Pani, a community and specialist mental health service in New Plymouth. Successive roles saw Alana move to Wellington to take up positions with the Ministry of Health with a particular focus on improving tamariki health, Māori hauora and mental health services. Before taking on her current role at the Crown Response Unit Alana was the Programme Director Modernisation – Child, Youth and Family at the Ministry for Social Development and subsequently the Manager for Whānau Ora Commissioning at Te Puni Kōkiri. Alana is excited about returning to Taranaki and honored to have been chosen for the role:
“I consider it an enormous privilege to be appointed Pou Tū Kūrae at Tui Ora. For me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to give back to the to the people of my turangawaewae, the place where I grew up and owe so much to. “I look forward to working with the kaimahi at Tui Ora who do an amazing job for our whānau and I am grateful to Hayden for committing his time to the transition process. I am excited and humbled by the challenges ahead, but 100% committed to the cause to create better health outcomes, and better lives, for whānau Māori in Taranaki.” Alana will be formally welcomed to Tui Ora at a pōwhiri in January. Until then she remains committed to her mahi at the Crown Response Unit and ensuring a thorough handover for her successor.