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Support for people working in health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find information about how you can support yourselves and others, including consumers, teams and colleagues which complements and aligns with Ministry of Health resources.

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Head and shoulders photo of Ria EarpRia Earp (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao)

Ria is the Chair of Te Kāhui Piringa for Te Tāhū Hauora Health Quality & Safety Commission. Te Kāhui Piringa provides strategic advice to the chief executive and Board on Māori issues for Te Tāhū Hauora.

Ria has extensive experience in leadership as chief executive and senior manager in the health sector. She retired from Mary Potter Hospice (in Wellington) late 2017 where she had held the position of chief executive for eleven years. Prior to taking up the role in Mary Potter Hospice, Ria was the Deputy Director General, Māori Health for the Ministry of Health for nine years. This followed a long career as a senior manager in the public service across a range of portfolios.

Ria has established a consultancy that has a focus on health and social development policy, design and implementation. She is the current Chair of Te Rōpū Taki Māori, the Māori advisory group for Hospice New Zealand and was recently appointed as Advisor, Māori services at Hospice New Zealand.

Ria’s BA major was Anthropology and she has completed a MA (Applied, Social Work) and Masters of Business Administration. Ria has a deep interest in Māori community development.

Muriel Tunoho (Ngāti Raukawa)

Muriel Tunoho is the chairperson for Hutt Union & Community Health Service (HUCHS) – a community-owned health service located in Pomare and Petone.

She has an extensive background in primary health, community development and governance. She is also a leader in the Living Wage Movement and E tū union, working together to lift low pay and strive for a fairer and civil society in Aotearoa.

Muriel is a descendent of Ngati Raukawa and she has two sons and three young grandchildren.

She became a HUCHS patient when it was first established because it offered low cost fees and patients were valued for contributing to improve service delivery, rather than being powerless recipients of the health service. This confidence, lead her to encourage four generations of her extended whanau to enroll with HUCHS too.

Muriel now convenes HUCHS' Patient Advisory Group, Te Kete Hauora and she has been inspired by patients who are driving change to improve HUCHS' service delivery by whanau with diabetes including co-designing a successful 12 week exercise programme in their community.

Chas McCarthy (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Haua, Te Ātihaunui A Pāpārangi, Ngati Whitikaupeka)

Chas has a nursing background, originally training and qualifying as a registered Psychiatric nurse and then undertaking further studies to become a registered comprehensive nurse. He has worked in the health sector for a number of years, with a reasonable period of his nursing career being in the Mental health and addiction sector, particularly in the area of Maori mental health and addiction.

On leaving nursing Chas pursued auditing and did contract work, in a number of areas, including mental health, public health, health workforce development the NGO sector and other areas of health. He has worked for a number of different organisations. Some of these include DHB’s, the Central Regional Health Authority, the Health Funding Authority, the Mental Health Commission and he recently finished working as an employee of the Ministry of Health, where he worked in the areas of Maori Health, Public Health, Population Health and Sector Capability and Implementation.

Bernadette Jones (Ngā Wairiki, Ngāti Apa)

Bernadette Jones is a senior research fellow at the University of Otago, Wellington, co-director of the Foundation for Equity & Research NZ (FERNZ) and Tāngata Whaikaha Māori advisor to Te Aka Whai Ora. She is a registered general and obstetric nurse, and a Master of Public Health, with over five decades of clinical and research practice in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

Bernadette has developed kaupapa Māori research methodologies supporting Māori community partnership approaches and she is passionate about achieving equitable health and wellbeing outcomes for Māori.

She has lived experience of disability and advocates across various government sectors for the rights of tāngata whaikaha Māori, their whānau and communities to have a voice in health and disability services and policies.

Denis Grennell (Ngāti Maniapoto and Irish descent)

Denis Grennell is an award-winning Cultural Development Consultant working with individuals, teams and organisations.

An experienced educator and developer, Denis has worked with organisations large and small, corporate and industry focussed from the public, education, private and volunteer sectors. He has over 20 years' experience in education focussing on immersion Māori pedagogy from primary, secondary and tertiary. Enhancing this wide experience is Denis management history in the public and industry sectors.

He has worked with a wide range of individuals and organizations. Denis has been involved in a wide range of projects focused on Māori development including the promotion of ecoshows to Māori through Māori radio and other media, to research into success factors of Kura Kaupapa Māori, to Māori leadership programmes in the corporate context delivered from a Te Ao Māori lens, to work across the health sector from Māori mental health to committee roles with HQSC.

His facilitation skills are seen in roles like master of ceremonies for international and national conferences ranging from suicide prevention focused on validation of indigenous knowledge, to development of a working agreement between government and community.  

Denis is a member of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee and holds the role of Pou Tikanga for Ngā Pou Arawhenua, the Māori advisory committee to the mortality review committees. He also works closely with the Family Violence Death Review Committee. The caucus seeks to achieve health gains for Māori by strengthening the work of the committees in advancing Māori health and achieving equity and increase and improve the application of a Māori world view in mortality review.

Commission team

The Commission employs a team which supports Te Kāhui Piringa and ensures the objectives outlined in Te Whai Oranga are implemented. 

For any inquiries about Te Kāhui Piringa please email

Published: 13 Oct 2021 Modified: 15 Jan 2024