Dr Peter Jansen, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Integrated Care, University of Auckland, and Ms Debbie Sorrensen, General Manager Pacific Health, Counties Manukau DHB

New Zealand has an increasingly diverse community containing many cultures, each with a unique worldview that shapes the collective identity and individual behaviours. This worldview may differ significantly from that of the prevailing Pakeha culture. The New Zealand health care system is grounded in the prevailing Western culture. The lack of cultural understanding between the prevailing* health care system and many Maori or Pacific patients is reflected in the health disparities between Maori or Pacific people†, and Pakeha New Zealanders. In order to deliver high quality, effective health care to the diverse communities of New Zealand, the cultural competence of providers needs to be developed. For Maori and Pacific groups cultural competence is just as important as the clinical competence of providers. Guidance for developing cultural competence is presented in this paper.