Marae step up to boost Māori vax numbers on Super Saturday

Source: 1News

Marae across the country stepped up, opened their gates and laid out welcome hangi on Saturday as part of a drive to increase the vaccination rates for Māori.

Nationally, 71 per cent have had their first dose, while 62 per cent are fully protected. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said around 80 per cent of people hospitalised in the current outbreak were Māori or Pasifika, while only three or four of the 170 hospitalised were vaccinated.

Tamaki Makaurau's Manurewa marae was putting on a party as part of Super Saturday, pulling a crowd with sausages and ice creams, while spot prizes were handed out up and down the country.

"I want to use it as an incentive not a bribe," organiser for Northland's Ngatiwai Kathy Caldwell said.

"For me it's about protecting our whakapapa and especially our mokopuna under 12 who can't be vaccinated."

In Northland, Dr Shane Reti was on the tools, administering vaccinations to the community.

At Mokau marae 90 vaccinations were delivered, with Ngāti Wai's Ropata Diamond saying it was "exciting" to see many get their first jab.

Modelling suggests 90 per cent of Pakeha will have had their first jab soon, with Pasifika due to reach the same target at the end of the month. Māori meanwhile are hoped to pass the threshold by November.

It's the Ministry of Health's group manager equity Tamati Shepherd Wipiiti's job to make sure they get there.

"For many of our whanau they will want to have a couple of conversations before they get vaccinated and that's kei te pai," Wipiiti said.

"If we have to come back three or four times listening to trusted sources, we're up for it."