Lakes DHB staff remember Eru George
22/01/2021 1:51:03 p.m.

Friday 22 January 2021

Memorial service for Eru George at Rotorua Hospital


Around 180 people were at today’s memorial service in the atrium at Rotorua Hospital to pay respect to Eru George, who was the Pou Herenga for Lakes DHB for the past two decades. 

Eru passed away at home on 28 December. His tangi was held at Kearoa Marae, Horohoro and he was later buried at Mokai Marae alongside his beloved wife Ngaire.

Speakers at today’s service included Board Chair Dr Jim Mather, Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood, long-time friend Roger Pikia of Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa, Deputy Board Chair and retired paediatrician Dr Johan Morreau and Natasha Ruttley, Eru’s daughter.


Eru had worked at Lakes DHB for 21 years after starting as a whai manaaki in child and adolescent mental health services.

When the DHB was set up 21 years ago Eru’s appointment to the Pou Herenga role saw him involved in almost every significant development on Pukeroa Hill, leading formal ceremonies and managing relationships with local iwi Te Arawa and TÅ«wharetoa.

CE Nick Saville-Wood says while there was a significant attendance of DHB Board, current and former staff members at Eru’s tangi, the memorial service was a way of enabling Lakes DHB staff to pay their respects and farewell Eru and the major role he has played for so long in the health organisation.

He said Eru’s knowledge of tikanga, kawa and history provided valuable guidance to the DHB’s leadership team.

“Eru was always a gentleman. Everyone who engaged with Eru always came away feeling enriched. His way of guiding people, who were not comfortable in their knowledge of Te Ao Maori, was always supportive and inclusive. He was a tremendous representative of both Maori and our DHB values of manaakitanga, integrity and accountability,” said Nick Saville-Wood.

Dr Johan Morreau spoke of Eru’s huge contribution to health and training in cultural competence for health professionals, noting so much of what he did made the DHB workforce feel safe.