Ben is an emerging leader in mental health and addiction services. He works at the cutting edge of health and politics to drive innovation and creativity in service commissioning to improve equity of health outcomes for Māori and improvements in the health system.
Ben currently works as the Executive Director of Service Commissioning – Oranga Hinengaro at Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori Health Authority. In this role, he leads Māori mental health and addictions service commissioning and supports the health system reforms to enhance the influence of Māori rangatiratanga and hauora.
In 2020, Ben worked on a new and innovative eMental health and addiction framework in his rohe, Rotorua. This framework was created to raise awareness of how people could engage and use digital tools to help support their mental well-being. This work comprises experts across health and social sectors focusing on wellbeing, early intervention and kaupapa Māori services. The eMental health and addiction solutions were created to work alongside existing approaches to meet the increasing demand for services as existing methods are continuously stretched to their limits.
Ben has a Master’s, First-Class Honours, in Politics and International Relations from Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland. For his postgraduate studies, he received the Robert Chapman Postgraduate Prize, awarded for the best piece of master’s or PhD research in the field of New Zealand politics. He also received the Māori and Pacific Graduate Scholarship in 2014 and 2015, given to the top Māori and Pacific Graduate scholars at the University of Auckland.
During his undergraduate studies in Social Sciences, majoring in Political Science and Public Policy at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, the University of Waikato, he received the Māori Excellence Award in 2013 and 2012. Ben also gained a Tikanga Māori certificate from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.