Puhi Ariki Ngawaihonoitepo Paki is encouraging all rangatahi Māori and non-Māori to seriously consider getting vaccinated.
“Initially I was on the fence about getting vaccinated. Once the Delta outbreak hit Aotearoa I was concerned about the wellbeing of my parents, nieces, nephews and our kaumātua because we are around them. I didn’t want to be the reason for them to catch Covid-19," she says.
The daughter of King Tūheitia received her second dose along with her partner Te Oko Horoi Totorewa at the weekend in Hopuhopu. Now she is calling for rangatahi Māori to protect their whakapapa.
“My words of advice to the youth, I am aware and fully understand the feeling of uncertainty because I am also still in the age group. But I think, to make a decision for yourself, youth need to get informed and educated with the right information,” Paki says.
To date, in the 20-34 years old age group only 650, 091 have received the first dose while 233,826 are fully vaccinated.
“It’s a reflection on how this generation is really. We are a generation that likes to do what we like to do and I guess the numbers are reflective of that and it’s just all-around individual liberty,” Te Oko Horoi Totorewa says.
Kīngitanga spokesman Ngira Simmonds says, “When our culture and very existence is on the line, everything about us gets put under that same microscope. This gives us an opportunity to make sure everything about being Māori will exist forever.”