Jonathan Koea

Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama


Professor Jonathan Koea is an Auckland-based general surgeon who specialises in the health of the liver, gallbladder, stomach, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract.

Growing up in Taranaki, he made the move to Auckland to study medicine at Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland. When he first completed his surgery training, he was the only Māori General Surgeon in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Therefore, a large part of his career has been dedicated to improving the health of Indigenous communities in both New Zealand and Australia through research and advocacy and supporting the development of an Indigenous medical workforce through his appointment as Māori Supervisor of Surgical Training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

In 2020, he led a study on the potential benefits of using Rongoā Māori in public hospitals. The study found that a third of the staff surveyed supported its use in the hospital system. Using this and other data, he and Rongoā Māori practitioners have developed and trialled a Rongoā Māori /Western Medine collaboration framework. He believes this research could inform future exploration of a health sector that incorporates Rongoā in modern medical treatments.

Currently, he is the head of the upper gastrointestinal unit at Waitemata District Health Board and is a general surgeon at Harbour Surgery Centre. He is also a Professor of Surgery at the University of Auckland School of Medicine, where he supports the next generation of surgeons and contributes to research.

As an advocate for Māori health, he brings a Māori perspective to be involved in the National Perioperative Mortality Review Committee, the Auckland Northland Division of the Cancer Society of New Zealand, and the board of the national cancer agency, Te Aho o te Kahu.


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