Iwi calls for Māori vax rate to lift before opening Auckland border

Source: 1News

One iwi is calling for the Auckland border to remain closed until Māori vaccination rates lift as we head into Christmas.

It comes as Pasifika and Māori communities look to boost vaccination numbers, including Tokaikolo Church in Māngere, South Auckland.

While some in the church have held anti-vax views, leaders have come on board in the past month.

“There's some number of people who are unsure of the vaccination and some are completely against it, but we can't do much for them at this stage,” ---- Frank Koloi said.

“Their church leaders would like the majority of the church congregation to be protected with vaccination.”

However, it’s Māori vaccination numbers that are causing concern.

“Our modellers have told us we're two to three weeks behind non-Māori to get to that 90 per cent. Our people will be vulnerable over the summer period when people are getting together, gathering for summer events,” Waikato Tainui chairwoman Linda Te Aho said.

Waikato Tainui is calling for the Auckland border to remain in place.

“We're expecting there will be a surge in numbers and it will be our people that suffer disproportionately,” she said.

Over 30 events are being held across the Waikato over the weekend in an effort to boost vaccination numbers.

Nga Miro Health Centre's Glenda Raumati said they had “15 whānau waiting to come through” when staff arrived at 8am, adding, “We were just amazed at such a fantastic response”.

Raumati says misinformation has been slowing the uptake in the region, particularly for youth.

“It's been quite challenging for them to figure out from all that information they get on social media… for them to wade through all of that and arrive at the position they have today, to come and get vaccinated,” she said.