(MBChB, MPH, PhD)
Senior Lecturer in Medical Education at the University of Auckland
Co-founder of Tend Health
Board member of Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority, Pūtahi Manawa Centre of Research Excellence, and Aktive Sport and Recreation
Previously Deputy Chair of Te Hiringa Hauora Health Promotion Agency NZ, Board member of Te Ora, and the Northland District Health Board
"Titiro ki nga taumata o te moana, kei reira te oranga mo koutou" Te Ruki Kawiti
Mataroria credits Te Reo and tikanga Māori as his tūāpapa - the foundation of his identity and successes. Te Reo Māori was passed down to him and his siblings from their elders. "Te Reo is the mauri of Māori," he asserts, echoing the words of Ngati Hine chief, Tā Hemi Henare.
Throughout his medical studies, Mataroria actively participated in the Māori and Pacific Admission Scheme (MAPAS) programme, an initiative designed to support Māori and Pacific students in their academic aspirations. He was also a kaitautoko supporter of the Kia Ora Hauora Māori Health programme, aimed at guiding Māori students towards careers in the health workforce.
Having completed a PhD exploring the motivations of students behind pursuing medicine, Mataroria found that Māori students are driven by a desire to serve their communities, a sentiment shared by Pasifika, he says. He is committed to increasing opportunities to grow the Māori health workforce. “Kotahi tangāta he rau ngā tāngta’ – from one person comes many” he says citing Waiaporo Jone’s whakatauki.
An alumnus of Harvard University, Mataroria completed his Master of Public Health as a Fulbright Scholar and a Frank Knox Fellow, benefiting from a full scholarship. Reflecting on his journey, he remarks, “Going to Harvard wasn't about fulfilling a personal dream; it was about acquiring the knowledge and filling my kete to help people and serve others.”
Upon his return from Harvard, Mataroria joined the Māori health team at Counties Manukau DHB and assumed an academic position at the University of Auckland. Here, he embarked on his interests in Māori health and digital technology. He saw the opportunity to leverage social media platforms for health promotion and utilise technology to enhance healthcare access for whanau. As part of this kaupapa, Mataroria is a co-founder and Director of Health Equity at Tend, a primary care provider of online or in-person GP services. He says it is important to provide choice to patients to be seen both virtually and in person, and providing a digital channel can be a means to increase access for Māori he says.
In addition to his academic and healthcare roles, Mataroria co-hosts the prime-time medical TV series "The Check Up" on TVNZ, now in its third season. One episode, focusing on HIV prevention and PrEP medicines, holds special significance for him. He says, “As an openly gay man, it was an important story to help reduce the stigma and impact of HIV for the LGBTQIA+ community.”
As a Board member of Te Aka Whai Ora, he honours the many pioneers and leaders of Hauora Māori over the decades who fought to establish a Māori Health Authority. Ultimately, to realise the well-being aspirations for our whānau, hapū, and iwi.