Karawhiua: New campaign urges Covid-19 vaccine to protect whānau

7:21 pm on 10 May 2021

Māori are being encouraged to step up to protect their whānau and communities by learning more about the Covid-19 vaccine, and getting the jab.

Mataroria Lyndon

Dr Mataroria Lyndon Photo: SUPPLIED

Called 'Karawhiua', or 'Give it Heaps', the health campaign shares medical information, and real life stories from Māori with direct experience of Covid-19, to motivate Māori to share their own experiences, questions and opinions about getting vaccinated.

The campaign is led by Te Puni Kōkiri with input from Māori and iwi communication specialists, and features Dr Mataroria Lyndon, a Northland public health doctor and senior lecturer at the University of Auckland.

The Karawhiua campaign complements existing Unite Against Covid-19 messaging, by providing a trusted source of information.

"It's important particularly for Māori who are more likely to be impacted by Covid in terms of severe disease or hospitalisation. It's about providing simple and convenient access to the vaccine alongside trusted health information that's relatable and resonates for Māori communities," Dr Lyndon said.

"And I think in that way you'll actually see a higher uptake of the vaccine among Māori as it's rolled out.

"What I found when I talked to whānau across Aotearoa... [some] were very interested in finding out more about the vaccine as part of their decision-making, which is why this campaign, at a critical time as the vaccine is being rolled out and is more readily available now moving into group three - [it's important] to be able to have this campaign that resonates for Māori communities."

He said he had talked about the vaccine with kuia and kaumātua, rangatahi, athletes, musicians and social influencers.

Ruthie Nielsen was sick with Covid-19, while hapū with her baby Hope.

Ruthie Nielsen was sick with Covid-19, while hapū with her baby Hope. Photo: Supplied.

"This has been developed by Māori, for Māori, and it is very story driven."

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The first Karawhiua video features Ruthie Nielsen, who was pregnant when she got Covid-19 last year at a tangi.

"She subsequently developed complications - Covid pneumonia, and that's an important and powerful story to share, because a lot of people may not have necessarily met somebody that's had Covid."

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