​​​​​​​Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority confirms interim leadership appointments


​​​​​​​Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority confirms interim leadership appointments

Media release from Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority
4 minutes to Read
Unfiltered May 2022

Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority has today announced the appointment of its four interim Regional Directors, tasked with providing leadership and advice on the strategic needs of regional communities under the new health reforms.

Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Executive, Riana Manuel, says these roles will be crucial in assisting the health system transition over the next six months.

“The interim Regional Directors will strengthen local functions and capacity, so the regions are prepared for the shifts required for our new health culture.”

The interim Regional Directors for each region, are:

  • Tracee Te Huia – Northern
  • Riki Nia Nia – Te Manawa Taki
  • Patrick Le Geyt – Central
  • Mata Cherrington – Te Waipounamu

Ms Manuel says each appointee has a long-standing and successful relationship with their respective region and she is confident they will take an approach that fits with the unique kaupapa of the area.

“Our interim Regional Directors will lead work across the region with their counterparts and colleagues in hospital and specialist services, primary and community care and public health.”

Te Aka Whai Ora has also confirmed the appointment of Dr Rawiri Jansen, previous clinical director of the National Hauora Coalition, as its interim Chief Medical Officer.

Ms Manuel says Te Aka Whai Ora will soon be calling for Expressions of Interest for its permanent Chief Advisor roles, including Chief Medical Officer and Chief Advisors for Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health, and Kaimanaaki.

“We look forward to bringing more kaimahi on board with the expertise, experience and drive to work for equitable outcomes for Māori across Aotearoa.”

Interim Regional Directors

NORTHERN (Northland, Tāmaki Makaurau, Waitākere, Waitematā, Counties Manukau)

Tracee Te Huia


Tracee is of Ngāpuhi descent and a whāngai of Ngāti Kahungunu. She has a Master’s in Management and over 23 years’ experience in the health and disability sector, including being the former Executive Director Strategy and Health Improvement for Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (DHB) and General Manager Māori Health for both Hawke’s Bay and MidCentral DHBs.

Tracee has served as the Acting CEO for these DHBs over seven years and has extensive knowledge in the operations of both hospital and community settings. She has a strong background in intersectoral development and has held governance roles in the education, local government and not for profit sectors.

Tracee worked as an Executive Director for Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated’s Asset Holding Company, and during this time built strong relationships across the motu including within the National Iwi Chairs Forum on joint iwi commercial propositions. She led the inaugural contemporary Treaty of Waitangi claim WAI 692 (closure of the Napier hospital) for the DHB and in 2019, was part of the Katoa Ltd research team that informed the WAI 2575 Hauora claimants and the Ministry of Health.

Having chaired interagency network groups for Hawke’s Bay and MidCentral, Tracee is passionate about improving health and social outcomes for Māori populations. She is a member of the Institute of Directors and has been an RMA Hearings Commissioner supporting the Taiao aspirations of iwi.

TE MANAWA TAKI (Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Lakes, Taranaki and Waikato)

Riki Nia Nia
Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tonga

Riki is an experienced executive leader who has held regional and national roles within our health system since completing an Honours Degree in Social Work, Social Policy and Sociology at Massey University.

He is the current interim District Co-Director of Te Whatu Ora, Waikato, and has been employed at 10 of the 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) in Aotearoa. His roles have included Service Manager of Public Health Services at Whanganui DHB, and Executive Director of Māori Health for Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs.

Riki brings an acute understanding and experience of the opportunities and challenges working in these spaces. He is passionate about seeing more whānau enter the health workforce and believes only then will our health system have the necessary intelligence and capability to perform more effectively for Māori.

CENTRAL (Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Greater Wellington and Hutt)

Patrick Le Geyt

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Apa

Patrick Le Geyt has 25 years’ experience in the health and disability sector through his roles in commercial, public, iwi and not for profit organisations.

He served as the General Manager Hauora at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga for over 13 years, and for the past seven years has held Māori health and public health management and executive leadership positions with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

Patrick’s strategic leadership and governance positions have included: Ministry of Health advisory groups, Rūnanga Hauora o Ngāti Kahungunu, Hawke’s Bay DHB Māori Relationship Board, Te Ao Marama (NZ Māori Dental Association), Chair of Māori Oral Health Provider Quality Improvement Group, HealthCare Aotearoa executive board member and member of International Network of Indigenous Health Knowledge & Development.

Patrick is a recognised Māori health leader and advocate, strategic thinker and planner, service designer and implementer, and operational and business manager. He holds tertiary qualifications from Massey University, University of Auckland, NZ Institute of Management and is currently studying at Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

TE WAIPOUNAMU (All South Island)

Mata Cherrington

Ngāti Hine, Te Kapotai, Ngāpuhi-Nui-Tonu, Ngāi Pakeha

Mata returned to the Southern DHB in February 2022 as the Interim Chief Māori Health Strategy & Improvement Officer after leaving to have her first tamaiti in 2013.

During her hiatus from health, her mahi included working within the philanthropic sector supporting communities across Aotearoa in organisational development, strategy, and governance training. In 2019 she became the Kaihautū/CEO of an iwi provider serving in Murihiku.

Mata holds an LLB and Bachelor of Social Science (Political Science). She has gained key leadership experience through her time in the military, corporate, health, social, education and whānau ora sectors.

Mata has a passion for improving hauora outcomes for whānau Māori. She believes that this will occur when we can identify our shared values, principles, and knowledge so we may all contribute our respective taonga to achieving greater impact that will influence better wellbeing outcomes for all communities in Aotearoa.

Mata says, “When I look at my tama and kōtiro, I am reminded that the mahi I carry out today is because of the desire to realise the aspirations of my tupuna, and my motivation is to ensure we achieve pae ora for my tamariki mokopuna.”