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Sir Collin Tukuitonga


Sir Tukuitonga is a public health physician, associate professor and academic at the University of Auckland. He has extensive teaching and research expertise and is the president-elect of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.

Sir Tukuitonga has focused his career on inequities, with a particular focus on Pacific and Māori health. He has strong relationships with the Pacific health community and leaders. He has expertise on boards at national and international level, as well as national and international leadership experience in Pacific Health. He is a past Harkness Fellow.

Racial justice and emergency responses

State-led responses to emergencies, disasters and/or public health emergencies (whether they are naturally-triggered or human-induced) have often failed to serve Indigenous and racialised communities. In Aotearoa, during the 1918 influenza pandemic, we lost seven times more Māori than non-Māori lives due to racism within the state-led response. Inaction or inadequate action in the domain of emergency responses cost lives in the case of COVID-19 and breached te Tiriti o Waitangi (see Haumaru Waitangi Tribunal report).

Through COVID-19, the Kaikoura earthquakes and Cyclone Gabrielle, we have seen robust Māori-led responses. Pacific and other Indigenous and racialised communities are also stepping into the void. This leadership has been successful when state-led responses have been slow and insufficient. In the context of an increasing climate emergency, the panel discuss how can racial justice has been embedded into emergency responses so no-one gets left behind.

Sir Collin Tukuitonga
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