Farewell Dr Maria Baker Chief Executive Officer

The Board of Te Rau Ora would like to announce that it is with both sadness and gratitude that we farewell Dr Maria Baker as Chief Executive of Te Rau Ora.

Since 2007, Maria has played a critical role in the development, growth, and success of Te Rau Ora in her roles as Project Leader (2007-2014), Workforce Innovations Manager (2014-2017), and Chief Executive Officer (2017-2023). We celebrate Maria’s new role as Chief Executive, Te Hiku Hauora – and our continued relationship as collaborators, innovators, and health sector leaders.

We cannot thank Maria enough for the unwavering commitment, passion, enthusiasm, joy, and motivation she has shown Te Rau Ora over these past 16 years. She has left an indelible mark on the organisation, the people, the workforce, and our sector. Her passion and commitment to kaupapa has challenged us all to be relentless in our pursuit of the best possible outcomes for whānau.

As her time draws to a close, we reflect on the following whakatauki:

Titoki mai te whenua ki te rangi. Ko nga rau o te rakau, he marumaru mo te iwi. Ko nga pukupuku o te rakau hei oranga mo te hinengaro, mo te tinana, mo te whanau me te wairua.

The titoki tree grows out of the earth towards the sky. It shelters the seedlings below with its leaves and knotty trunk. So, we look to a strengthened and enduring structure to invigorate our people, stimulate their intellectual and spiritual imagination, and sustain the wellbeing of our families.

The Board has established an interim structure to sustain the day-to-day operations of the organisation while we continue with the recruitment and appointment process of a new Chief Executive Officer.

From next week, Valerie Williams will be stepping into the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer and Leigh Henderson will assume the role of Interim Chief Operating Officer. This co-leadership model will support a dual focus on business and service delivery – while enabling support for new developments and business growth. I will be working closely with both Val and Leigh to provide governance oversight and support.

The Board wish to thank Maria for her leadership and unwavering commitment and look forward to joining her next week as she is welcomed into her new organisation.