Alana Ruakere is passionate about creating positive change for Māori hauora, including improving access and equity in health services and empowering whānau to take charge of their own health journey.
Alana was raised in Ōpunake and New Plymouth by her parents, who were both healthcare workers. Her mother, Anne, was a nurse, and her father, Tony, was a GP who established Te Atiawa Medical Centre, the first kaupapa Māori GP practice in Taranaki, in 1994. Alana started her career as a tutor in mental health support at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki. She then set up Te Rau Pani, a kaupapa Māori mental health service at Tui Ora. Alana then moved to Auckland, Rotorua and Wellington to work in the Public Service, starting at the Ministry of Health, focusing on improving tamariki health, Māori hauora and mental health services.
Before her current role as Pou Tū Kūrae Chief Executive of Tui Ora, Alana was the Crown Response Unit Director overseeing the Government's response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. Prior to this, Alana held senior roles at the Ministry for Social Development as the Programme Director for the modernisation – child, youth and family and the manager for Whānau Ora Commissioning at Te Puni Kōkiri.
Alana's mahi is crucial for helping reform the health system and the reach of Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori Health Authority, which has enormous opportunities in kaupapa Māori hauora. This role also means she has also been able to return to Taranaki, the rohe she grew up in.
Outside of mahi, Alana is a keen painter, poet and singer. She and her husband, Rob, have three children and one mokopuna.