Māori veteran calls for more toilet stops on medical transport

By Heeni Brown

Māori War Veteran Selwyn Clarke wants the hospital transport system to change their policies around going to the toilet.

This comes after his recent trip from his home in Kaitaia to be treated at Auckland Hospital for his injuries.

89-year-old Selwyn Clarke says it took a day for him to arrive from Kaitaia to Auckland on an ambulance. While he was travelling, he had an embarrassing ordeal. 

Clarke says, “On my journey here I needed to urinate, so I asked to go and was given a container. So I urinated in the container and while the shuttle was still moving I dropped the container and it went on my pants and top. From then on I knew this sort of thing wasn't right.”

Clark is being supported by Oneroa Pihema who also wants elderly patients to be treated better when it comes to being transported from Northland hospitals to Auckland.

Pihema says, “I want to change the current mainstream transport system and make it easier for Māori.”

They want a system where patients can signal the driver to stop and relieve themselves appropriately. 

“If our elderly men and women come down (via the shuttle or bus) I don't want them to go through what I had to. This also applies to non-Māori as well. I don't want them to be embarrassed as I have,” says Clarke.

Clarke is no stranger when it comes to publicising issues.

In January Clarke was on the streets of Kaitaia begging after his pension was stopped because he did not respond to a warrant for his arrest over a trespass charge arising from a protest occupation of Kaitaia Airport last year.

In a statement to Te Kāea, the Auckland District Health Board says they expect all service providers, volunteers and staff to treat every patient with respect.

They say they will contact Clarke and Pihema directly to see what improvements can be made.