The Director-General of Health has confirmed Māori health workers will be trained to administer the Covid-19 vaccine.
Māori health providers have consistently called for their kaimahi (workers) to be trained to administer the vaccine.
Associate Minister of Health (Māori) Peeni Henare has confirmed that "broader workforce challenges" were a barrier for Māori getting vaccinated by their health providers.
"We have a significant challenge to bring some of our whānau in to be able to be trained and able to administer the vaccine. We're working with our Māori providers first to identify who we can train and who are able and willing to do it, and then, secondly, making sure the training is done with them in an efficient manner so that we can roll out and support more of the vaccine being delivered to our communities, in particular our Māori communities."
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said an exemption has been approved to train the non-regulated workforce, including kaimahi working for Māori health providers.
"It will add to the skillset for that workforce and also, of course, increase the workforce available, particularly for Māori and Pacific providers."
He wasn't sure yet how many kaimahi or kaiāwhina would be trained.
Henare said 62 Māori health providers will receive a portion of an $11 million fund to help them build infrastructure and workforce capability in the next two weeks.
He said it was important that there were communications on the Covid-19 vaccine in te reo Māori.
"For our kaumātua, kuia and our rangatahi Māori who prefer to articulate themselves in te reo Māori, having the ability to respond to their questions in te reo Māori gives them a level of reassurance their voices are being heard in places like here [Parliament] and at the decision-making table in respect to Covid-19.
"Ko te hua nui ka puta mai... ko te reo Māori kei runga koina to huarahi o te ngākau" (That is the big benefit of using te reo Māori, it speaks to the heart)."
As well, $24.5m has also been put aside "for the development of community-based vaccine support services" to support Māori health providers to "engage and prepare their communities for the vaccination programme".
How the funds would be distributed was up to each Māori health provider in each region, Henare said, and they were waiting to hear back from them as to how the pūtea (money) would be spent.