11 Dec 2021

Māori and Pacific disability community Auckland vaccine event

3:27 pm on 11 December 2021

Festival flavour and freebies will be ushering in potentially hundreds of people from the Māori and Pacific disability communities at a drive-thru vaccine event in Auckland this weekend.

The vaccine event Rally Your Village, at the Pacific Locality Vaccination Centre in Ōtara, is serving Māori and Pacific people with disabilities.

With a focus on inclusion, the event caters for people with impairments and runs until Saturday evening

Dr Andrew Chan Mow is the clinical director at South Seas Healthcare in Ōtara

Photo: LDR / Stephen Forbes

It's being run by volunteers from South Seas Healthcare Trust, in partnership with Taikura Trust, Tōfa Mamao Collective and Te Roopu Waiora.

South Seas clinical director Tagaloa Dr Andrew Chan Mow said it will be a memorable experience.

"A drive thru but specifically for people with disabilities and caters specifically for them so it doesn't upset anybody. So they feel comfortable and safe in that environment. We've got Mr Whippy, coffee, street food, kids packs and we also give out vouchers."

Taikura Trust chief executive Sonia Hawea said it was crucial they dedicated an event to serve the disability community.

"We need to think carefully about the language that we use and methods we use to deliver health services and recognising the disability community through these times has been a really important shift. That's going to be sustained through the partnerships which is really positive."

Taikura Trust Chief Executive, Sonia Hawea

Taikura Trust Chief Executive, Sonia Hawea Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Te Roopu Waiora Trust manager Tania Kingi said Aotearoa needed to do more to prioritise people with disabilities when it came to vaccinations.

"I don't think the country has made enough effort to ensure that's accessible and culturally relevant. So therefore you have a population caught in the middle that we're trying to reach.

We're specifically targeting our population that have impairments we are celebrating the value that we place on their membership in our community," she said.

Tunumafono Ava Fa'amoe is the national executive officer of Tōfa Mamao Collective and also has a disability.

He said disabled people are not sitting around idle, but are actively taking part in contributing to the cause.

"We as disabled people continue to work alongside the team of 5 million to do our part. We are actively involved in the process and also part of that process is encouraging disabled people across Auckland to be vaccinated, not just for ourselves, but for our families and for those with legitamate reasons cannot be vaccinated."

He said not everyone can be vaccinated.

"There is a lot of disabled people for legitimate medical reasons cannot wears masks also cannot be vaccinated. We also need to be supportive and mindful of those people. So when they are in public they are not ridiculed," he said.

Although three Auckland DHBs have a hit 90 percent first dose milestone for Pacific, Hawea said they want to go above the 90 percent target for both Māori and Pacific.

"I think many of us will say we are not satisfied with 90 percent we want to make sure we want to reach all of our community where ever they are and keep going until we know they have that information and opportunity," she said.

Rally your Village runs until 8pm Saturday.