Package to assist Māori through Covid-19 'good start' - Merepeka Raukawa-Tait

By Te Ao - Māori News

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait says the government's newly-released targeted financial package to assist Māori through Covid-19 is "a good start".

“I tautoko our Māori Ministers who have come together to acknowledge and put together a package for Māori," Raukawa-Tait says.

“It is timely that we finally get funded to support initiatives by Māori to Māori for Māori.”

She says the new funding will be targeted by Whānau Ora providers toward providing immediate support and relief for whānau.

Today the government announced a range of initiatives for Māori, including $15 million to the three commissioning agencies to inject mechanisms and care packages directly into the poorest communities, she says.

Raukawa-Tait says they had been left to initiate hygiene and sanitation packs for whānau who could not afford such luxuries, dispatching the first 10,000 this week, with the remaining 20,000 to be distributed over the next fortnight. 

“Our providers know their communities and whānau who will need these packs and they will receive them over the next few weeks.”

Raukawa-Tait acknowledged that Māori do not generally engage with the health system, with many living in isolated rural communities.

“The health packages designed for clinics don’t serve the majority of our people.”

Government funding for Māori-led, Māori-specific vaccination programmes to address equity issues will help address this she says.

These include a targeted health promotion campaign and support for Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies to respond to increased demand as a result of Covid-19.