The first Hui to discuss the problems of bowel cancer and faecal incontinence for Māori took place on Friday, 14 February 2020, and was a huge step forward for the STaR Centre. Arranged by Fred Astle, our Director of Kaupapa Māori, it was held on the marae at Ōrākei. We were warmly welcomed with a powhiri by the Ōrākei Kaimatua.
Fred opened and chaired the proceedings and John Windsor, our Director, presented the vision of STaR Centre to translate research into real world practice. He underlined the importance of truly engaging Māori in our research from direction setting through study planning to implementation. Ian Bissett, Director of Indigenous and Global Surgery in the STaR Centre, outlined his background in surgery in Nepal and more recently in Academic Surgery in the fields of Bowel Cancer and Bowel Incontinence. Raewyn Lewis, a patient, then described some of her personal journey in dealing with these problems as a Māori woman.
The rest of the morning was spent in learning together about the problems of bowel cancer and incontinence. There were presentations, questions and times of discussion where possible solutions were raised. There was a real sense that these are issues that are important to Māori but have seldom been addressed. Important connections have been made and there is a strong commitment to meet again to plan our future direction together.