Dr Lance O’ Sullivan won New Zealander of the Year for his innovative work reducing health inequality for New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people. The inequalities Maori face are typical of indigenous and ethnic minority populations around the world.

Reducing health inequality for these populations often means improving their access to healthcare and making healthcare providers more culturally competent, two things that go hand-in-hand. Finding long-term solutions also means looking at the determinants of health. For many indigenous and minority populations, health inequalities are inextricably linked to inequalities in housing, education, employment and justice.

Dr O’Sullivan’s plenary address at the 2014 APAC Forum describes his initiatives for leading change to tackle these challenges for the Maori people of northern New Zealand. His determination and fresh approach will be interesting and inspirational to anyone with an interest in population health, youth health, or the health of indigenous and ethnic minority groups.