Don Matheson

Deputy Director-General, Public Health and Primary Care Transformation

Ministry of Health

"Don is a specialist public health physician and prior to joining the Ministry he was working with the health sector in North Brisbane. He helped establish a ‘neutral space’ where different parts of the health and social sector worked together to tackle health challenges in the region. Previously Don worked as an independent health systems consultant, and over a nine year period undertook evaluations of national and district health systems in the Asia Pacific region. He holds visiting professorships at Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology. From 2000 to 2008 he was the New Zealand government’s leading policy advisor on public health and international health, managed the development of the New Zealand Health Strategy, and co-led the health sector’s approach to addressing health inequalities. At the regional level, he served as WPRO’s regional adviser on non-communicable diseases. At the global level, he represented the NZ Minister of Health on the WHO Executive Board, and provided policy advice to World Health Reports on health care financing (2010), primary health care (2008), and to the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (2008). His early medical career was spent as a district medical officer on the Zimbabwe Mozambique border. Returning to Aotearoa NZ in the mid 1980s, Don became a general practitioner, and worked firstly with unions and Iater alongside mana whenua to establish community and iwi controlled health services in Newtown, Wellington and in the East Coast’s Ngāti Porou rohe.

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