Delta outbreak to beat last year’s first wave as Māori cases increase

By Contributor

By Māori health researcher Dr Rawiri Taonui, in partnership with Te Ao Māori News.

Situation update

October 7, Day 16 of Auckland Alert Level 3.

During the first wave last year, we moved to Alert Level 3 after four weeks at Level 4 and following several days of less than 10 cases.

This year, Auckland moved to Level 3 after four weeks at Level 4 with a 2.5 times more infectious Delta variant and many days of between 11 and 33 cases. The move was premature. A six-week to two-month Level 4 lockdown would have suppressed Delta.

Last year on day 16 of Level 3, there was a total of 35 cases. In Delta Day 16 Level 3, the total is 364 cases of which 42.6% are Māori. Level 3 Delta has allowed more people to move about Auckland and cross Auckland borders with other regions, enabling and disguising Delta’s movement into the marginalised periphery of the Māori community.

Level 3 is intended to ease restrictions while continuing to suppress the virus. The government easing of Level 3 restrictions does the opposite. Asking whānau to isolate in family bubbles while having their infants mix in early childhood education is not sensible and allowing whānau to bubble mix many times in one day without checks is a recipe for calamity. The proposal to open schools on October 18 while new cases are running at 200 per week is dancing with disaster.

There are new cases in Raglan, Kāwhia, Hamilton and Karapiro. There is an elevated risk of further transmission into Northland and from the Waikato into other regions. The principal risk is to the lower vaccinated Māori community.

Last year, the first wave reached 1,500 cases in 14 weeks. Delta will, in just over eight weeks, surpass 1,500 cases by Sunday.


  • Māori are 13 of 29 new cases.
  • This is the eighth time in nine days Māori have had the highest number of cases by ethnicity.
  • Māori are 42.6% (149 of 376) of new cases during Level 3.
  • Māori are the highest number of new cases by ethnicity since September 14.
  • Māori are 16.7% of the population.
  • Delta Māori cases passed this mark on September 29.
  • Māori cases are 21.1% (305 of 1,448) of all Delta cases.
  • Māori cases passed the total for all Pākehā, Asian, and MELAA cases on September 30.


Māori and Pacific

  • Level 3: Māori and Pacific are 77.8% (283 of 364) of all cases.
  • Delta outbreak: Māori and Pacific are 80.9%  (1,171 of 1,448) outbreak cases.
  • Over the past week: There have been 201 new cases. Of these 88 are Māori (43.8%), 48 Pacific (23.9%) and Pākehā, Asian and MELAA a combined total of 65 (32.3%) cases.


Over the past three weeks, Māori (19.4%) and Pacific (18.7%) have had the largest increases in vaccination since September 15. This reflects the strength and mahi of our Māori and Pacific health providers and leadership.


Pākehā cases

Over the past two days, new Pākehā cases have been the second-highest behind Māori. The lesson: If a largely Pākehā government does not protect the health, wellbeing and safety of our most vulnerable communities, Delta will make its way back into the Pākehā community. It is in all our interests to defeat Delta.

Noho haumaru, stay safe.

Dr Rawiri Taonui.