Dr Lance O’Sullivan has been honoured yesterday as the ‘Māori of the Year’ by current affairs programme, Marae Investigates (Māori of the Year Awards-Ngā Toa Whakaihuwaka).
Co-leader of the Māori Party Tariana Turia, has congratulated Dr Lance O’Sullivan and said that, “On Waitangi Day, it is fitting to reflect on the many Māori heroes and champions of the human spirit who work so hard for our whānau to see a better day ahead.
“Dr O’Sullivan today joins their ranks in being honoured for his absolute commitment to the people. This commitment has been shaped by his experiences as a General Practitioner in Rotorua and Kaitaia; and in seeing the harrowing impacts of poverty on the health and wellbeing of families.
“I have been so grateful for Lance’s leadership in helping us to put in place a preventive campaign to tackle the unacceptably high levels of rheumatic fever this country has observed over the last decade. His dedicated approach to addressing heart disease and ensuring access to treatment is inspiring.
“As Associate Minister of Health I was proud to be present at the opening of the service he was a key player in founding – MOKO (Manawa Ora, Korokoro Ora or “Healthy Heart, Healthy Throat”), based at Kaitaia Primary School. It’s a school based health service which operates on the premise that good health is a basic right for every child, every whānau. He takes that same approach to his recent initiatives – Kāinga Ora (a well home) – and his own health service – Te Kohanga Whakaora (“The Nest of Wellness”). All of these approaches stem from his belief that good health is not simply a matter of ‘treat and wait’ – it is just as vital that we create healthy environments to achieve wellness.
“Lance is someone who walks the talk. A father of seven children; and a participant in the Iron Māori competition; he understands the need to promote healthy lifestyles as a key component of Whānau Ora. He has always spoken out about the need for all of us to value health; to talk about looking after ourselves. I heard him once talk about the need for regular checkups being like maintaining a car – you don’t want to leave it so long that it turns out to be an expensive repair job! That’s the sort of practical motivation that we need to make change in our lives.
“I congratulate Lance today – but also his iwi – Te Rarawa, Ngati Hau, Ngati Maru, Ngapuhi –and his whānau, in nurturing in him the dream to live well and long – not just for ourselves, but the generations to follow.
“It is also a great day to celebrate the outstanding leadership that is revealed amongst all the 60 nominees; the 27 finalists and the nine category winners announced today. You make us all very proud”.
Maori of the Year Awards-Ng? Toa Whakaihuwaka Category Winners:
Dr Cathy Dewes
Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith
Dr Lance O’Sullivan
RATONGA HAPORI-COMMUNITY SERVICE
Dr Cindy Kiro
Kerikeri High School
TE AO HANGARAU-SCIENCE/INNOVATION/TECHNOLOGY
Kapenga M Trust
Te Awanui Huka Pak LTD
Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s photo by news.tangatawhenua.com