Speaking as Chair of RACS Aotearoa NZ National Committee (Aotearoa NZNC), Associate Professor Andrew MacCormick said the justification for a body like Te Aka Whai Ora, that focuses on the health needs of Māori, is plain to see in the government's own data.

In a report released in February 2024, Manatū Hauora - Ministry of Health said: "In Aotearoa New Zealand, people have differences in health that are not only avoidable but unfair and unjust.".

The Health Status Report 2023 shows Māori women die on average seven years earlier than European/Other women. For Māori men, the average is eight years earlier. At nearly 150 per 100,000 people, Māori people’s avoidable mortality rates are more than double that of European/Other groups.

"That's pretty damning," Associate Professor MacCormick said.

"Where do we - as a nation that values fairness and cares about our fellow Kiwis - go from here in making meaningful progress to reduce health inequities? The difference between equality and equity seems to be being ignored."

RACS Māori Trainee Liaison Lead Professor Jonathan Koea said the disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora is a "huge blow for Māori health progress".

“Reverting to a system that has been ineffective at reducing disparities over the last 170 years is illogical."

At the same time, he says RACS in Aotearoa has ramped up its focus on health equity for all New Zealanders.

A key feature of Professor Koea's work at the College is encouraging more Māori into surgical careers. The aim is to have 150 fully trained and practising Māori surgeons by 2040; the bicentennary of Te Tiriti o Waitangi - Treaty of Waitangi.