A Board member of Te Oranga Hawke's Bay says a decision by the primary health organisation to put more resources into helping patients with high needs, which include Maori, is a huge step forward.
Health Hawke's Bay was set up in April 2011 after three regional PHOs merged.
Priority Population chair Bayden Barber says aiming funding at those with high health needs so that they have better access to services will provide huge benefits.
He says many Maori and Pacific Island communities in Hawke's Bay live in areas of high deprivation, with poor housing, high unemployment and low incomes.
Mr Barber says just having access to health care is a real issue, especially for those who live in remote rural parts of the region.
He says giving Maori greater access to primary health care will reduce the number present at Hawke's Bay hospital's emergency department wanting help.