GP and Māori health advocate’s service to community recognised with top College honour 

25 July 2022

A specialist general practitioner who has worked her entire career with Māori in Hawkes Bay has been awarded Distinguished Fellowship of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners. 

Dr Kiriana Bird (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Porou) is a GP dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Māori living in the Ngati Kahungunu region by providing a whanau ora centred model of care. 

She is the Medical Director for Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga (TTOH) in Hastings where she has led changes to the way services are provided, strengthened relationships, enhanced the kaupapa Māori approach, and built strong, resilient teams who are culturally able to support self-determination for Māori.  

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, “Having spent her whole career based in the Hawkes Bay, Dr Bird has been able to build strong, trusted relationships with the patients, the community and the medical workforce in the region. This trust and whanaungatanga she has nurtured over the years can only have positive impacts on the health outcomes of those she serves.” 

For the College, Dr Bird has held multiple roles within Te Akoranga a Māui, the College’s specialist Māori representative group. She is currently the lead medical educator for first-year GP registrars in Hawkes Bay and is also involved with the training of second- and third-year Māori GP registrars. Since 2020 Dr Bird has been the Te Akoranga a Māui representative on the College Board. 

Distinguished Fellowship is awarded to GPs who have demonstrated sustained contributions to general practice, medicine, or the health and wellbeing of the community. This year, five GPs and one rural hospital doctor received this award at GP22: the Conference for General Practice.