Media release: First ever agreement between global pharmaceuticals company and Iwi Māori tribal organisation

First ever agreement between global pharmaceuticals company and Iwi Māori tribal organisation.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua and Roche Pharmaceuticals New Zealand proudly announce the signing of an agreement to explore new avenues for disease prevention, treatment, and wellness for the descendants of Ngāti Whātua.

The “Tū Kotahi” relationship agreement, thought to be a world first between a global pharmaceuticals company and Iwi Māori tribal organisation, signifies the commitment of both organisations to inclusivity, respect, and understanding of indigenous knowledge and practices.

Dame Rangimarie Naida Glavish, and John Marsden, Co-Chairs of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua, said the relationship signified a new chapter in healthcare innovation and cultural preservation.

“This relationship gives Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua a platform to bring new ways of treatment and healthcare innovation for the descendants of Ngāti Whātua by integrating traditional Māori values and matauranga into modern healthcare solutions.”

Maori health inequity overlaps with Roche areas, particularly cancer awareness, diagnosis, treatment and therapies (liver, lung, breast), and Opthamology (eye health often linked to diabetes).

Signing for Roche Pharmaceuticals, NZ General Manager Alex Muelhaupt said putting patients first means recognising the health inequities for indigenous and first nations’ peoples.

“We believe that patients, communities and the biopharmaceutical industry must work together to ‘do now what patients and their whanau need next’. This is the purpose of our relationship commitment to Ngāti Whātua. By listening and walking with them, we can identify where our expertise can help with the better health outcomes they seek.”

About Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua is a respected Iwi organisation dedicated to the welfare and advancement of the Ngāti Whātua people. Their mission revolves around preserving their cultural heritage, supporting their community, and fostering partnerships that promote positive change.

About Roche

Founded 125 years ago, Roche remains a family-owned and run global pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland. Roche has been in operation in New Zealand for 50 years since 1973. Roche has grown into the world’s largest biotechnology company and a global leader for in-vitro diagnostics.

Roche is more than a healthcare company, it is a healthcare partner. Our view is that the future of the health systems on which we all rely is a shared responsibility. As well as investing more in R&D and personalised healthcare, we are changing the way we operate to work more closely with patients and health systems. We must all work together to find solutions that are sustainable and equitable for all.


Notes to editors

To interview Alex Muelhaupt, please contact:

Alexander Muelhaupt, General Manager

Roche Products (New Zealand) Limited

PO Box 109113, Newmarket, Auckland, 1149

About Roche

For more than 120 years, Roche has been committed to improving lives. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. We have one purpose: to do now what patients need next.

We have had a presence in New Zealand since 1973 and operate across two key businesses, Roche Pharmaceuticals and Roche Diagnostics. The ultimate aim of our almost 100 employees across the country is to enable New Zealand patients to gain access to our medicines and diagnostic tests in order to detect illnesses early, and to treat them with life-saving and life-changing medicines.

New Zealanders have access to 27 Roche medicines, 19 of which are funded by Pharmac. Beyond this, New Zealand plays an important role in the global research and development (R&D) network for Roche.  In fact, Roche is the largest investor in clinical trials in New Zealand, investing more than $17 million over the last 20 years in clinical trials across a range of disease areas.  No matter which part of the business we work, our team understands that life changing discoveries will only matter if the right medicines get to the right patients.

Roche Products (New Zealand) Limited, Auckland. Phone 0800 656 464. All trademarks mentioned herein are protected by law. M-NZ-00000779/AUG2023

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