Te Poutoko is one of seven new research centres at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland. Co-directors Sir Collin Tukuitonga, Professor Judith McCool, and Dr Roannie Ng Shiu invited individuals to join the council that could offer guidance around delivering solutions for the Pacific regions most pressing challenges. These include non-communicable diseases (cancer, diabetes etc.) the health impact of the climate crisis, pandemic preparedness and the health of children and young people.

Incoming chair, former Director-General of health, Sir Ashley Bloomfield led the inaugural governing council meeting late last year. Sir Ashley recently joined the University as a Professor in the School of Public Health and Director of the Public Policy Impact Institute. He says the Centre will benefit immensely from the governing council’s strong line-up, able to leverage from their wealth of knowledge, extensive research, and health industry experience.

Sir Ashley says the governing council’s role was an advisory one: “The role is to provide guidance, insights and advice to the team and the Centre, on strategy, priorities, opportunities and the linkages and the networks that you have and can take to help support the work of the Centre.”

The governing council’s members are Lord Viliami Tangi, Professor Jemaima Tiatia-Siau, Dr Audrey Aumua, Professor Papaarangi Reid, Tevita Funaki, Dame Teuila Percival, Dr Paula Vivili, Dr Donald Wilson, Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma and Debbie Sorenson.