Our History

Mai i te tīmatanga o Te Kupenga Hauora Māori

We live in a world of changes. So often our early beginnings
are not captured. Therefore, we are taking this opportunity to share the Whakapapa as we know it today.


As a result of the friendship between Dr Rex Hunton, senior lecturer in community health and Mr Fred Ellis, an Auckland member of Te Rarawa Iwi from the Kaitaia region, a link between the Medical School, Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri of Northland was forged in 1976. During Queen's Birthday weekend of that year, over 100 medical students and some faculty members visited Ahipara and were guests of Te Rarawa on the Pukepoto and Te Ohāki marae. This began a series of exchange visits, with the people of the North and the medical school visiting each other on alternate years.

These visits led to the development of firm friendships between many students and staff members with the people of the Pukepoto, Te Ohāki and Manukau marae. They also generated a more sensitive perception of the place of Māori culture and lifestyles in the New Zealand way of life. Few medical students will forget the aroha, the examples and the teaching of Uncle Dick Stirling (Eruera Stirling of Te Whānau a Apanui), Uncle Simon and Aunty Dollie Snowdon of the Gregory family – the late Vivian, Dr Bruce, Ross and their sisters, of Uncle Ephraim Te Paa, Uncle Fred and Aunty Amelia Clark, Aunty Amy Tatana, Mercia and Bully Smith, Mona and Brian Beckett, Fred Ellis who was our constant good friend and adviser, and others too numerous to mention. In Auckland itself, Eddie MacLeod, Anne Tia and Betty Wark all helped whenever we needed them.

Our association with the people of the North hadn't progressed far when in their love and kindness in 1977, they gave us their blessing by dedicating our school as a marae in its own right. At this time, Dr Bruce Gregory presented to the Medical School the tokotoko he carved, with the expressed hope that it be used when we, the tangata whenua of the Medical School marae, were speaking on our marae. Then in 1979, carvings over the entry of the medical students' common room were unveiled by their carver, medical student, David Tipene-Leach (now Dr Tipene-Leach) and blessed by the Kaumātua of Te Rarawa.

The special link between Te Rarawa, the students' common room and the Medical School marae was celebrated formally in 1981, when the common room was named "Manaakitia" a name selected by Fred Ellis and willingly accepted by the students. The naming of the common room and its blessing gave formal recognition to the room as a special part of our marae. The room was seen by our visitors from the North as a special place to be used by all with respect and pride in all areas of learning and helping as they related to medical education. It is a room to be used fully, but in a fashion which reflects its special nature.

*Manaakitia holds in the history of the school, in the memories of many of its students and faculty, and in the hearts of our friends from the North. The history and memories were affirmed in August 1993 when the new name plaque for Manaakitia was unveiled and blessed.

*Manaakitia = support, take care of, give hospitality to, protect, look out for

Ngā Kete Mātauranga

In 1991, The University of Auckland Medical Students Association gifted a room to Māori and Pacific students admitted under the MAPAS and ODA entry scheme. Blessed and named Ngā Kete Mātauranga (the baskets of knowledge), this room provides a study place where the students can hold tutorials and assist each other with their studies

Te Herenga Kōrero a te Iwi

Te Herenga Kōrero a te Iwi is the name given to the first offices of the Department of Māori and Pacific Health when it was opened and blessed in 1996.

Fale Moana

Fale Moana was the name given to Number 2 Boyle Crescent, Grafton, when the department expanded and established a Pacific house.

Te Tokotoko

In 1977, Dr Bruce Gregory carved and presented "Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Te Tai Tokerau i runga o Mataatua" to the dean of the Medical School, Professor David Cole. Te Tokotoko is for use by the dean and successive deans. Te Tokotoko is currently held by the dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor John Fraser.

Audit Professors Ranginui Walker and Mason Durie

From this audit came the establishment of the department. That is, it separated the Māori health unit from the Department of Community Health and set up the Department of Māori and Pacific Health.

Tōmairangi Paki Tōtara Tree

In 1996, a Tōtara tree was planted by Tōmairangi Paki to commemorate the opening of Te Herenga Kōrero a te Iwi as the offices for the Department of Māori and Pacific Health.