Hāhī Rātana members get vaccinated as Omicron hits Tāmaki

By Tamati Tiananga

Faith has seen more than 300 Hāhī Rātana members get vaccinated as Omicron hits Auckland communities.

“We don’t have any whānau in the community who have Omicron but we have whānau who have Delta and are isolating and we are supporting those whānau," Manurewa Marae chief executive Takutai Moana Natasha Kemp says.

"However it will come, it’s just when and the marae needs to be ready.”

The weekend the marae reached another high, vaccinating hundreds of Māori young and old who were eligible to get the vaccination.

“It’s a response to mandates and for those whānau who realize they have been unable to get out and about and that they need a vaccination pass to get accesses to services,” Kemp says. 

The South Auckland marae, which held a "Whakamoemiti in the Pā" event at Clendon Park the weekend administered a total of 338 vaccinations in one day to Ratana members.

Services to whānau

“We are providing services when services are needed. We will continue to do pop-ups because we know not all our whānau come to the marae. One of the trends is we need to take services to our whānau.”

The event took place on Sunday, January 23, the same day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all of New Zealand would move to the Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework at 11:59pm. 

“Nine Covid-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region are now confirmed as Omicron, and a further case from the same household was confirmed late yesterday,” Ardern said then.

Manurewa Marae has played a pivotal role in Auckland based Māori health providers' response to Covid-19 since the virus first hit Aotearoa in 2020.

“This is another phase of Covid-19 Mahi that we’ve been doing over lockdown and over the past 18 months," Kemp says. "It's business as usual for us. This is what we do.”  

“Omicron is far more transmissible than Delta and Covid-19. We know it’s going to increase very quickly. The thing is, for us out here in the community, we know we’ve got the most vulnerable and high-risk whānau and we still don’t have the right resources for our whānau to meet these needs.”