Lakes DHB mourns passing of Pou Herenga Eru George
29/12/2020 1:38:10 p.m.

Tuesday 29 December 2020

Lakes DHB mourns passing of Pou Herenga Eru George


Eru George, Pou Herenga Lakes DHB passed away at home on Monday 28 December after a long illness.

Lakes DHB Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood, says he received the news of Eru’s passing with a very heavy heart. He says Eru’s role as the cultural leader and advisor was highly respected and much appreciated by everyone at the DHB, and his cultural guidance was invaluable.

Eru is lying at Kearoa Marae. Horohoro. Speeches and acknowledgements are being held today and this evening. Tomorrow morning, Wednesday 30 December Eru will then be taken to Mokai Marae for his funeral service tomorrow morning at 11am, before being buried beside his wife, Ngaire.

Eru had worked at Lakes DHB for 21 years. He began his journey into health as a whai manaaki in child and adolescent mental health services (now iCAMHS) in 1999. He worked with families and staff to improve understanding and health outcomes for Maori.

His earlier career was as an electrician in light industrial and commercial industry. He then entered the heavy industrial construction sites at Kinleith, Kawerau and Ohaaki Power Station. After a number of redundancies, Eru wanted a change and began with NZ Employment Services helping people into work and trade training.

Eru’s brother was a psychiatric nurse and they had many conversations about what could be done to improve mental health services for Maori so when the whai manaaki role came up, Eru was motivated to apply and got the role.

Eru had said that the training for his Pou Herenga role began as an infant speaking Maori with his parents at home in Horohoro. As a young man his father took him to all the local tangi and hui and taught him Te Arawa tikanga, whaikorero, karakia and waiata.

This early learning meant Eru was able since about 2000, to lead the Lakes DHB Board, the Chair, Chief Executive and Executive team as they worked to improve health inequities.