Release of the COVID-19 Māori Vaccine and Immunisation Plan

John Whaanga
Deputy Director-General
Maori Health Directorate

29 March 2021

I’d like to announce the release of the COVID-19 Māori Vaccine and Immunisation Plan, which builds on the Updated COVID-19 Māori Health Response Plan implemented in 2020.

This plan outlines key initiatives that will be undertaken to ensure the COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme addresses its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and supports Māori health and equity.

He mahi ngātahi Working collaboratively
The COVID-19 response has been a collective effort involving hapū, iwi, hapori Māori, the wider health and disability provider network, and the broader health and disability system, workforce and government. The achievements and progress made are the result of collaboration and kotahitanga.

It is essential the Ministry continues to encourage and enable this unified effort as part of the COVID-19 Elimination Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand. The successful delivery of the Programme will be critical to meeting the objectives of the Elimination Strategy.

Ko Te Tiriti te pūtaketanga – Fulfilling our obligations under Te Tiriti
The Ministry is committed to fulfilling its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi as part of the COVID-19 Maori health response, including through working in partnership with our iwi and Māori health provider network. Initiatives include:

  • governance and partnership
  • targeted vaccination approach
  • Māori health and disability provider support
  • workforce development, and
  • tailored communications.

The Programme will help to manage the impact of COVID-19 on Māori which will enable us to:

  • provide our most at-risk groups with a layer of protection through the vaccine to minimise the potential harm of contracting COVID-19,
  • potentially reduce the risk of transmission in the community, and
  • support the health and disability system’s readiness and resilience if there is an outbreak, both by vaccinating certain health workers early and by vaccinating the groups most at risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19.

Te Pūtea – Funding for a targeted Māori response
To ensure the Programme is responsive to Māori and delivers on equitable health outcomes, the Ministry has committed $39 million for a targeted Māori response. Of this funding, $11 million will support Māori and iwi health providers to prepare for their delivery of the COVID-19 immunisations and $24.5 million will go towards support services for whānau to improve access to COVID-19 immunisation services.

Hei tîmatanga – First stage of the Programme
Our first focus is to get this $11 million directly to selected Māori and iwi health providers who have existing vaccinator capabilities. The funding will be allocated through a population-based funding formula and our focus will begin in April with the Counties Manukau DHB region. This funding will support providers to prepare their workforce, operational infrastructure, and systems needed to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to whānau, hapū, and iwi.  

It is intended for this investment to leave a legacy to help build the capability and capacity of the Māori health sector for future programmes.

You can read the plan online here.


Last updated: Monday, March 29, 2021

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