News

Resounding call for Māori in Te Moana ā Toi to get vaccinated

29 October 2021

The Board of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board is endorsing the Tikanga Hou released by Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o te Moana ā Toi, imploring Māori in the district to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The Board tautoko the call from the Rūnanga for increased Māori vaccination rates in Te Moana ā Toi,” says Bay of Plenty DHB chairperson Sharon Shea.

The declaration calls on the descendants of Toi – of Mataatua waka, Tākitimu waka, Tainui waka, and Te Arawa waka – to get vaccinated.

“The Rūnanga are the Board’s trusted iwi partner and we value their voice, their advice and their shared role in the DHB’s decision-making,” explains Shea.

The Rūnanga represents the 17 iwi in Te Moana ā Toi and partners with the Board of the Bay of Plenty DHB.

“The COVID-19 vaccine offers us the best protection against the virus. All 17 iwi in the rohe are behind this objective and supporting whānau to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” says Shea.

“If you haven’t taken the opportunity to get vaccinated, kōrero with someone who has already had it, speak to a trusted healthcare provider, or seek trusted information,” advises Shea.

Bay of Plenty DHB chief executive officer Pete Chandler echoes the iwi partner’s call for action.

“I honour and applaud the leadership of our Rūnanga partners. We know this vaccine is safe and can protect our community if enough of us are vaccinated. There’s now a very limited and critical window of time to get fully vaccinated before the end of the year and so I and our healthcare teams across the Bay are urging people not to delay – don’t wait for Delta to get here,” says Chandler.

“We all need to do our part and get vaccinated for each other,” adds Chandler.

Vaccinated people are far less likely to contract COVID-19, get severely sick from the disease or require hospitalisation, according to the Ministry of Health. The vaccine also reduces a vaccinated person’s likelihood of passing on COVID-19 to other people.

“All of the evidence continues to point to the fact that vaccination is our most important protection against this deadly virus,” says Shea.

“Our youth and rangatahi are our future. We are calling for our young Māori and non-Māori aged 12 to 30 to get vaccinated. We are building on earlier work with people in this age range and undertaking a dedicated youth approach,” says Shea.

The Bay of Plenty DHB recently launched a campaign aimed at young people in the district called ‘Plenty of Reasons’. The campaign encourages young people to think of the reasons to get vaccinated – including freedoms to travel, to attend events, and spend time with whānau.

“On a personal note, as someone who has whakapapa to this rohe, I am a firm believer in our ability as tangata whenua to exercise our own rangatiratanga by choosing to get vaccinated in order to protect our whānau,” emphasises Shea.

Walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations are available throughout the district and can be found at www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19-vaccination/bay-of-plenty

More than 178,000 residents in the district have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 140,000 residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

More than 50,000 doses have been given to Māori residents in the district, with more than 30,000 Māori having received at least one dose.