Innovation and Collaboration Increases Māori Vaccination Rate

April 12, 2022, 12:51 p.m.

The 'Vax in the Hood' kaupapa was a whānau event filled with music, kai, entertainment and fun for the tamariki across two days in Kaitaia. Local businesses sponsored resources and time to tautoko such as 'Whānau Fun Dayz' by Sadie Tahitahi who provided the bouncy castles and kids games.

Connor Watene-O'Sullivan spoke to Te Hiku Media about his involvement in this kaupapa and the benefits of running this collaboration.

"The “Vax in the hood” kaupapa reflected the collective nature, rural innovation and non-conventional model driven by the people to reach our goal of pushing the vaccination rate to 90%. In anticipation of achieving this, I hope that all our whanau will express the relief similar to that of Kupe's wife Kuramarotini when they reached their destination “he ao, he ao, he Aotearoa” said Watene-O'Sullivan.

All sponsors and kaimahi were either double vaccinated or had their first vaccination. The successful drive saw over 400 vaccinations and allowed whānau from all over the motu to ask questions, lift their sleeve and proceed through what would otherwise have been a daunting experience, in a comfortable environment.

Manurewa born and raised DJ William Williams, also known as ‘Evil Flows’, made the four hour trip to Te Hiku to perform in support of the vaccination drive. With whānau in the Far North, he was happy to be able to spend time with them while doing good mahi.

"Grateful to bring the whānau out into this space, create a place the whole family can enjoy while being there for them as they get vaccinated. Can’t wait to get back up here at a later date too" said Williams.

Over fifty Black Power roopu members stayed in local accommodation sponsors, Ngapae Holiday Park and saw wrap around tautoko by Ngai Takoto and Te Aupouri. A collaborative effort to combine different demographics and encourage whānau of all walks of life to participate in and enjoy the event, while getting their vaccination. The environment buzzed with whanaungatanga and aroha during this period. The event rolled out mid Alert Level 4, life and energy filled the otherwise empty camping ground (due to lockdown) and the focus shifted from hosting international visitors to supporting local kaupapa where support was needed 

The Kaitaia Memorial Park bustled with whānau of all ages and Auckland musicians showcased their talent. Vaccination nurses from Auckland DHB and iMoko Foundation had a tight ship running. Signage and barriers helped whānau find their way around site with ease. Hirikia Murray of Kaharoa Enterprises and ANT Trust said the event was a huge success. 

"We done so many vaccinations, it was a really busy weekend, great to see whānau come out out of the woodworks and get their jab" said Murray.

The vaccination rate for those with two vaccinations in Northland at the time sat at 88.1% and 70.2% had their third 'Booster'. 86.9% Māori in Northland have had their first vaccination, 82.6% are fully vaccinated and 58.4% have had their 'Booster'. Today 96% of oour population over the age of 12 years old have been vaccinated with their first dose and 95% have had two doses. 

Peter-Lucas Jones spoke to Te Hiku Media about his respect for the mahi by vaccination centres and kaimahi behind the scenes doing their part to ensure the safety of our community. He spoke of highly respected kuia of Ngāi Takoto Mira Berghan, aged 92 years old and fully vaccinated. A prime example of caring for the hauora of yourself, your community and your whakapapa.

Mike Te Wake (Te Rarawa) also spoke to Te Hiku Media about the importance of helping our kaumatua and kuia through these changing times.

“COVID-19 is a scary thing for our kaumatua and kuia. We need to use words that they can relate to when we are trying to connect them to zoom like ‘hey we can talk to your moko in Australia using zoom’ or helping them put the tracer app on their phone. Don’t expect them to scan in all the time or use hashtags. We just need to help them through this pandemic as best as we can.”

Our rangatahi will relate to bright colours, imagery, sound relevant to their age and interests. The vaccination stations set up at the old Warehouse building in Kaitaia seems like anything but a dull place for needles. Not only have the ‘Te Hiku Revitalisation Project’ members brightened up the outside of the building with a variety of stunning artwork from local artists, but the Northland District Health Board have also added a splash of colour and detail to the children’s area inside.

Thinking outside of the square, using communication methods that relate to different demographics and age groups, different influential roopu to showcase living examples of positive outcomes and creating innovative pathways that model results-driven and positive outcomes.

Collaborative mahitahi contributed toward the increase in vaccination rates in Muriwhenua over 2021's summer thanks to Kaharoa Enterprises, iMoko Foundation, Mangu Kaha Black Power, Auckland DHB, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, Ngapae Holiday Park, Pak 'n' Save, Vodafone, MG & Movement Whānau, Whānau Fun Dayz, The Bridge Entertainment and musicians such as Cyeliss, Evil Flowz, Joe Pol, Deetaff, K.TBila, 4BG and Cap.Z.






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