On Monday 15 November Wane Wharerau, Chairman of Te Rūnanga-a-Iwi-o-Ngāpuhi (the Rūnanga) was part of a contingent that welcomed Te Whānau o Waipareira back to Tāmaki after a week in Te Tai Tokerau, where their efforts resulted in vaccinating more than 3,000 people. This statement from Wane acknowledges the efforts of those involved and reiterates the Rūnanga’ pro-vaccination stance.
On Monday 8 November, Te Whānau o Waipareira (TWOW) came north with 60+ people including six specialist registered nurses and project managers, four clinical leads, and cold-chain specialists to provide much-appreciated support to Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāpuhi’ hauora provider, Te Hau Ora Ō Ngāpuhi (THOON).
Not only was the visit a great success with vaccination numbers, but there were some useful learnings on both sides that will help us all in our efforts to achieve our vaccination targets. I also acknowledge Te Rōpu Poa and her team for their relentless efforts to vaccinate whānau in Te Tai Tokerau and achieving remarkable results so far, particularly as they’re a small crew of only 11 — two with specialist qualifications, four vaccinators, one full time registered nurse and four part-time RNs.
The Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) has taken legal action against the Ministry of Health for its refusal to release individual-level NHI data on Māori who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19. As of this week it appears the ministry committed to ‘move quickly’ to get a data-sharing agreement in place for Iwi and/or through Whānau Ora but our understanding from WOCA is that this hasn’t happened yet.
Ngāpuhi will support any action that promotes the health and wellbeing of Māori. Iwi have been offered access to this information by the ministry however no one is currently recording details for individual data at tribal level. It is not possible to identify someone of Ngāpuhi heritage from the current NHI database.
Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāpuhi board of directors and Te Kahu O Taonui collective of Iwi Chairs of Te Tai Tokerau are strong and unapologetic supporters of the vaccination programme.
This does not mean we would reject whānau that choose not to get vaccinated against Covid-19, but we need to give a clear pro-vaccination message based on the best, scientific evidence and data. Ngāpuhi continues to be guided by experts such as Māori health advisor Dr Rawiri Jansen and researcher Dr Rawiri Taonui, who know vaccination is the absolute best prevention against Covid-19 and that without it, Covid-19 has the potential to decimate particularly Māori communities.
Only 87% of current Covid cases in Aotearoa are either unvaccinated, have received just one dose, or had been diagnosed before the time needed to develop full immunity after their second dose. It is concerning that to date 30 percent of all active cases are Māori (as at 18 November) with and that modelers do not see those statistics improving anytime soon.
Ngā mihi, Wane Wharerau
Hemeana/Chairman ― Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-Ō-Ngāpuhi
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