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Ngāti Hine is opening the first of four Covid-19 vaccination centres in the mid-North rohe in Whāngarei, with other sites planned for Moerewa-Kawakawa, Pipiwai and Russell.
The new Torongare Covid-19 vaccination centre will be opened with a dawn ceremony on Wednesday, the iwi said in a statement.
The centre in Walton Street, Whāngarei will support at-risk groups, particularly kuia and kaumātua and their whānau, within a kaupapa Māori environment, said Ngāti Hine Health Trust CEO, Geoff Milner.
“Our priority, during the June roll-out, is to honour our kuia and kaumātua (65+ years) who have not yet accessed the vaccination," he said.
“Through our hauora service practice, we know that manaakitanga is key to engaging with our whānau, and those who might be a little hesitant, so that they’re well supported and informed throughout the entire vaccination process in a space that maintains their mana and well-being."
Milner said the iwi wanted to ensure whānau did not suffer unnecessary loss because of the virus.
“We now have an opportunity to take a proactive stance in an effort to protect our whānau from further hardship, and more importantly, unnecessary loss due to this illness.”
Bookings for Ngāti Hine's vaccination sites is essential, said lead clinical nurse Angela Hobson, to "ensure a comfortable experience for our kuia and kaumātua." The iwi has a dedicated support team to schedule bookings and answer whānau enquiries on 0800 272 4842.
The roll-out of vaccinations to the general population starts in July.