Dr Lance O’Sullivan

Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Maru

Lance O’Sullivan is and has been my mentor for the past five years. Lance’s best qualities for me as his mentee is his ability to be enthusiastic, passionate and his drive to complete a job.

Lance trained in general practice. Muriwhenua sponsored his first stethoscope while he was training at Medical School, and as a result, he decided to move north to support the communities in the Taitokerau. Lance is skilled in dismantling a system and then putting the system back together to fit the people’s purpose better which I call radical and disruptive leadership.

Lance saw it was not possible and feasible for people in the far north to access medical support. The people needed a car and the money to buy petrol to drive for about an hour to get to the nearest hospital. The people then needed to pay to see the doctor, pay for the prescription and pay to get home again. Lance disrupted the health system by cutting costs to see the doctor and removing the need for people to travel long distances for diagnosis and treatment.

Lance is pro vaccinations and one of the first patai (question) he asked me was whether I had all my vaccinations. He passionately supports immunisation and is driven to protect the Māori community from misinformation.

Lance discovered his connection to Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) and his Māori identity at Hato Petera College. I believe the kura (school) helped Lance to refine his passion for Te Ao Māori. Lance has further developed his Te Ao Māori thinking by becoming an advocate for the wellbeing of Māori people puta noa i Aotearoa (throughout New Zealand) and overseas.

Navilluso Medical Limited is the Northland healthcare company established by Lance and his wife, Tracy O’Sullivan. The Moko Foundation is the charitable organisation that looks after the projects supported by Lance and Tracy. I felt humbled by Lance’s passion for getting the right people together for a kaupapa (project). Sometimes Lance sees he is not the best person to lead the kaupapa and he will delegate to people he has brought together.

Lance won New Zealander of the year in 2014 however I believe his biggest success is to inspire, to ignite the passion with groups of people especially young people. I have seen Lance overcome through aroha for his whānau many trials and tribulations over the years. I would choose the following whakatauki for Lance:

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei

The whakatauki speaks to Lance’s authenticity in aiming for what is truly valuable, but its real message is to be persistent and not let obstacles stop you from reaching your goal.

Profile By

Ezekiel Tamaana Raui, Te Rarawa, Cook Islands, Team Leader, Tū Kotahi programme, Te Rau Ora

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