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Change the game plan - Government grunt needs to get going

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Chair of the National Urban Māori Authority, and Managing Director of Te Kohao Health in Hamilton, Lady Tureiti Moxon s calling on the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards to change the game plan in relation to Māori and Pacifika vaccinations.

"If we want to engage more Māori and Pacifika participation in vaccinations then they must be resourced and empowered to do this for themselves. Given that the largest populations of Māori and Pacifika live in Tāmaki Makaurau it makes sense that Māori and Pacifika service providers should be at the forefront. Instead, they are listed amongst a whole lot of providers on the Ministry of Health and DHB vaccinations sites," says Lady Tureiti.

Mayor Goff has come out this morning calling for Auckland to move up the vaccine list too.

Currently official data shows that 1.4M non-Māori have been vaccinated versus 197,000 Māori.

As a Māori Health Provider and member of Whānau Ora working with whānau across the Waikato region, Lady Tureiti believes that not only the vaccination supply needs to be diverted to Auckland; she is strongly advocating for official communications to radically reprioritize to target this audience specifically.

"In the government’s multi-million dollar communications machine - we don’t even feature. Māori Health Providers are invisible. Our people need to know where we are and how they can access us. We are never going to be part of the solution if we’re always being kept at the bottom, as an option."

She is calling for Māori and Pacifika whānau to be featured front and centre on all United Against COVID and government agencies homepages, communications material, and official media outreach to connect in with Māori and Pacifika audiences faster.

"Everything is about the messaging. All our Māori and Pacifika providers need to be strongly highlighted and championed on the homepages in one click through to the 1pm stand-up speeches by the PM which sets the tone and more importantly, the focus and priority."

"Unless you are involved with a Māori provider, most Māori do not know who we are, and it is not easy on the government websites finding us at all as we’re buried," she says.

"We all need to be champions with the people we love. Māori need to be part and parcel of the overall campaign for the whole country."

Moxon praises all the courageous Māori Health Providers running "a no-barriers approach: no groups, no age restrictions, no sign-ups" approach to vaccinating at a time when many are saying vaccinating "one whānau is better than none".

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