Dr Paratene (Pat) Ngata (1946-2009)
Te Aitanga-a-Hauti, Ngāti Porou and Ngāt Ira
It’s his burning passion for Māori public health and his incredible leadership that people remember about GP Dr Pat Ngata.
Despite being far away from his people and finding the cold difficult to bear, Pat Ngata graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) from Otago University in 1970. His quest to encourage, nurture, and mentor Māori students in health saw him asked, in the 1980s, to add a ‘Māori element’ into medical training, mentor young medical students, and encourage Māori to enter the profession.
Dr Ngata established Hui Whakaoranga in 1984 alongside Eru Pomare, Dr Lorna Dyall, Dr George Salmond, and Dr Mason Durie. The hui, which rejected the notion that culture was irrelevant to health, was described as the most important Māori health initiative since the days of Āpirana Ngata and Te Rangi Hīroa. Within a decade of the gathering, Māori had become major providers in not only the health sector, but also education and welfare. Dr Ngata also helped found Ngati Porou Hauora, and the Maori medical practitioners’ group, Te ORA.
Dr Ngata moved to Gisborne in 1990 joining his uncle Herewini’s practice, a place he referred to as ‘bro repairs’ because it became so popular among Māori. In 1996 he tried to retire to Tologa Bay but that didn’t last long and because rural GPs were in such short supply he returned to work, continuing as a GP until 2008 when he (really) retired.
Dr Ngata was made a Fellow of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners in 2003.
In 2008 he was named a Distinguished Fellow, an awarded nominated by peers for doctors who are outstanding in their profession. The College’s highest honour acknowledging the work he had done for medical students, young doctors, the College, and in particular, Te Akoranga a Maui, and Te ORA.
Kua whetūrangihia koe e te hoa aroha. Engari mutunga kore kāmaumaharatia koe, heoi anōe te rangatira, moe mai rā.