A step closer to a Māori Covid-19 vaccine rollout

By Whatitiri Te Wake

With over half of the border staff vaccinated, the pressure is on the government to advise on details for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to the next priority groups, which include Māori.

Today, Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed more than 800 staff around the country have completed vaccination training across 13 district health boards.

Dr Bloomfield is confident his ministry has made a good start in getting the information out to whānau.

“I know we have to be meticulous in getting our advice and information out through a range of channels. And having people whose whānau, hapū and iwi actually trust pointing them to the information” he said.

The Associate Minister of Health – Māori, Peeni Henare, today confirmed ways in which the vaccine information will be distributed to whānau. Including local organisations knocking on doors.

“Horekau he ratonga hauora tua atu ia Ngāti Hine ki roto ia Ngāti Hine. No reira me tukuna atu rātou ki te whātoro atu ki roto i ā tātou hāpori whānui. Ki te tuku kōrero ki te whakautu pātai, heoi anō, ko tō mātou o tēnei whare, hei tauawhi awhina atu ia rātou ki te tutuki I tera mahi”

(There’s no other organisation within Ngāti Hine like Ngāti Hine. So let them go out into their communities to share the information and to answer any questions).

Henare is confident they are using all the necessary measures to ensure the message gets out.

E mohio ana au ko te hiahia a te iwi kia kaua e kite atu i tēnei kanohi, engari e mōhio ana tāua kei roto I te ao Māori etahi tāngata rongonui rawa atu. Ko te hiahia kia hāpai ake rātou a tātou kaupapa

“(I know the people are not wanting to see this face but, as we know, we have a lot of famous Māori. The idea is to get them on board to help promote our messages.)”

In a Facebook post, Hannah Tamaki confirmed she will not be taking the vaccine as it’s her "choice” she said. But Henare is concerned about the thousands of followers of the Destiny Church who will follow her lead.

Ko te mahi nui i tenei tau ko te tiaki i tō whānau, me te tiaki i tō whakapapa. Ae, kua kite atu ahau i te kōrero o te ūpoko o tera hāhi, heoi anō, ko tāku e hiahia atu ana kia houhou atu ki roto i ngā pīnati o te hunga whakarongo me te hiahia kia tiakina e rātou i ā rātou whakapapa me a rātou whānau.

(The big job this year is to continue to look after your family and your genealogy. Yes, I’ve seen the comments made by the leader of that church. I just want to ensure that the ones who listen to them are also committed to caring for their whānau and their genealogy )

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In a statement today, Judith Collins is calling on the government to provide more details on the vaccine rollout.

 “It is great that border workers are being vaccinated but the rest of New Zealand is increasingly asking, ‘who’s next’, and the government doesn’t seem to have any answers.

“Unlike other countries, New Zealand still has not published a detailed list of how the population will be prioritised for vaccines and when each group will be getting them,” she said.

Collins is concerned the delay in the rollout will cost the country more money.

“The longer we risk another lockdown that costs the economy $500 million a week”, adding further pressures on businesses.

She said, “Having a full vaccine rollout plan is important because it gives businesses the confidence they need to plan, and keeps the government focused on delivering against its targets."