5th December 2005
Memorandum of Understanding signed for provision of health services to Niue
An agreement recently signed means the people of Niue will have access to a range of health services both in the
community and at their new hospital, currently under construction. The new hospital, set to open early in 2006, is being
re-built at a new site following the devastation caused by Cyclone Heta last New Year’s Day.
New health services that will be offered come as part of an agreement signed between Counties Manukau District Health
Board (CMDHB), the Niue Ministry of Health and NZAID, the New Zealand agency for International Development (NZAID).
The agreement will see CMDHB staff coordinate training and development of Niue health professionals and facilitate
Niuean referrals to CMDHB.
“This is an important relationship for Niue. It began with a meeting between the Niue Government and two New Zealand
Ministers, Hon. Jim Anderton and Hon. Marion Hobbs in September 2004. At that meeting we discussed how New Zealand can
help Niue rebuild our Health Systems and Services following the devastation of Niue by Cyclone Heta" says Niue Minister
of Health Hon Fisa Igilisi Pihigia.
“I am pleased that those discussions have finally come to fruition. Health services are very important to Niue,
particularly given our geographical isolation from immediate help. It is important that our island-based community has
confidence that we can cope with most situations that are likely to arise. CMDHB has committed to helping Niue build
services that are sustainable and can help us promote wellbeing for our population. Most importantly, CMDHB is committed
to strengthening Niue’s health system to care for our own.”
The signing of the agreement was an equally momentous occasion for CMDHB. CEO Mr Stephen McKernan says “CMDHBs
relationship with the Pacific is an important one, and not just because of the high number of Niueans living in Counties
Manukau. The devastation of Niue by Cyclone Heta really touched us and we are pleased to be able to contribute to the
strengthening of Niue’s health system. We look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship with Niue.”
The programme has begun with the appointment of Dr Kara Okesene-Gafa, a Middlemore and Niuean consultant
Gynaecologist/Obstetrics specialist, as Director of Health for Niue. Dr Okesene-Gafa takes up her role in Niue for one
year to support the establishment of the new Hospital and work with CMDHB to strengthen health services. CMDHB has also
been providing General Practice and medical practitioner locum cover for Niue while longer term workforce issues are
NZAID manages New Zealand's $8.8 million annual aid programme with Niue. Following Cyclone Heta, New Zealand and Niue
signed the Halavaka ke he Monuina Arrangement to facilitate more effective cooperation between New Zealand and Niue
Government Agencies. Following the Arrangement, New Zealand and Niue agreed on a $20 million programme focusing on
capital and infrastructure projects.
A cornerstone of this has been the $6 million investment to rebuild Niue's hospital on a site which is less vulnerable
to cyclone damage. The hospital is due for completion in February.