Hon Dame Tariana Turia was a New Zealand member of Parliament from 1996 until 2014. She was Minister for Whānau Ora; disability Issues and the Community and Voluntary Sector. She has also been Associate Minister in Health, Maori Affairs, Social Development, Child, Youth and Family; Housing, Corrections, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.
Dame Tariana has been a champion of rangatiratanga for Māori as well as advocating strongly for disabled persons and Pasifika communities. Before entering politics, Dame Tariana was the chief Executive of Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority (the longest and largest Māori Health Service provider in the Central Region).
Dame Tariana was co-leader of the Māori Party since its inception in 2004 until November 2014. The Māori Party entered into a Relationship Accord with national in 2008. From that Accord evolved significant gains, including a Ministerial committee on Poverty to which she became Deputy Chair. Subsequently, Dame Tariana invested more than $65m into addressing and preventing rheumatic fever as a national, cross-government priority; extended home insulation for low income families and supported free doctors’ visits and medicine for children up to age 13.
Two of her greatest achievements are in Whānau Ora and tobacco reform. Whānau Ora represents a transformation in the way services are designed and delivered, contracts arranged, and providers work together. It is a bold and innovative approach which places the aspirations and outcomes for whānau at the centre.
Dame Tariana executed reforms to reduce tobacco consumption in all types of tobacco products and across all population groups. The strategy has been a comprehensive campaign in all spheres of influence – health education, legislation, removal of tobacco displays, plain packaging, smoking cessation and successive tobacco taxation. In 2015 the American Cancer Society awarded Dame Tariana the Luther L. Terry Award for Exemplary Leadership in Tobacco Control.
In 2010, Dame Tariana became the first recipient of a new award to be given every year to a key figure in Māori public health by the New Zealand Public Health Association. The award was developed to acknowledge success and achievement in Māori public health and was name ‘Tu Rangatira mō te Ora’ to recognize leadership in Maori health.
Dame Tariana is the Patron of the Whanganui YWCA; Patron of New Zealand’s Weightloss Surgery Trust and a Mentor for ABI Rehabilitation New Zealand. She is also the Chair of the Parihaka Settlement Trust, a Pou for the North Island Whānau Ora Commission Agency, Te Pou Matakana, a member of the independent Assessment Panel for the South Island Whānau Ora Commission Agency, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu and a Life-member of CCS Disability Action.