News

Bay of Plenty District Health Board and Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o Te Moana a Toi Apologises for COVID-19 Design

23 July 2021

The joint Chairs of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board and Te Runanga Hauora Māori o te Moana a Toi, Sharon Shea and Linda Steel, the CEO, Pete Chandler, and the Manukura – Executive Director Toi Ora, Marama Tauranga have today apologised to local Māori, Iwi and hapū partners, and whānau, for the use of an inappropriate design on COVID-19 marketing collateral.

Last night, the BOPDHB Chair was advised of the material and immediately instructed the CEO to  withdraw the collateral. All remaining materials will be destroyed, and the design will not be used again.

The Chairs and Executive Management express aroha to all concerned.

Sharon states that “I saw the design last night. I was offended by it. It was wrong. Since last night, I have been informed it was designed by a Māori artist, and had input from Māori marketing specialists and it had gone through an approval process, including consultation with some local iwi. However, it is clear that the process was not as robust as needed, and this design has caused offence. On this occasion, we have failed our Māori community, and we apologise. It’s not good enough.

“I have asked the Chief Executive to initiate a review immediately, and to ensure we have the appropriate protocols and a robust approval processes in place. We are working with our Te Tiriti governance partner, Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o Te Moana a Toi, and this is a matter of urgency.

“Our Māori community are some of those most at risk from COVID-19, and this issue is an unwanted distraction from our important job of delivering as many vaccines as possible to our valued kaumatua, kuia, pakeke and whanau. We are absolutely committed to an equitable approach to the vaccine rollout, and providing our whanau with the opportunity to access the vaccine.”

Linda Steel, Chair of Te Runanga Hauora Māori o te Moana a Toi states that “Te Runanga Hauora Māori o te Moana a Toi fully tautoko the actions of the BOPDHB Chair and CEO in removing the totally offensive material and the urgent review of the process. Te Runanga Hauora Māori o te Moana a Toi which consists of seventeen iwi from Mai I Ngā Kuri a Whaarei ki Tihirau are beyond offended that the most sacred part of our tinana has been depicted in this manner and unreservedly apologise to all our whānau, hapu, iwi and hāpori communities.