As Kahui Kaumatua Bill Stirling is the most senior Maori health community leader in Hawke's Bay. Bill's role is to lead and guide the delivery of health-care to Maori throughout the region. Through Nga Manakura he is involved in all communities promoting and enhancing health communication objectives, and acts as 'conduit' merging tribal alliances with other leaders within both Maori and Non-Maori groups.
According to Nga Manakura, leadership in Maori health promotion must be co-ordinated with a fostered relational approach bringing together a diverse range of contributors in order to be fully effective. From the Nga Manakura perspective there is no place for rigid sectoral boundaries for institutional capture, or isolated initiatives.
For Bill, the active promotion of good health must be balanced between treatment and prevention programmes deep within Hawke's Bays' communities. Programmes and promotions must be able to relate to communities in ways that make sense to those communities. Sometimes cultural barriers will reduce the effectiveness of campaigns; sometimes differences in socioeconomic status will impose barriers. And always the language used and the idiom with which messages are expressed should be a key factor.
In delivering Nga Manakura Bill Stirling acts as a mediator between Maori health-care providers and the HBDHB, and also within Hawke's Bay Hospital. Not only does he deliver Karakia upon death but he also educates Non-Maori doctors how to do this. Additional to Karakia, Bill monitors and ensures the non-removal of personal items following death so correct protocol can take place thereafter. Furthermore, he develops close relationships with older Maori (60 years+) who often feel more comfortable having their health situation communicated via Kahui Kaumatua. As with the delivery of all Maori concepts, Bill approaches his role in a holistic manner, always taking into account the patient, their whanau, and their wider community.
When patients approach discharge Bill recommends appropriate health services for when they return to their home and community. He runs Tikanga education at the Hospital Marae, heads up Te Reo lessons for all staff, and manages the Marae garden where Rongoa, traditional Maori medicinal herbs and plants, are grown. Bill also communicates closely with community elders and spiritual light healers to uphold the deep pervasiveness of Tikanga Maori within the HBDHB.