11 Oct 2021

Appeal to young Māori to help protect whānau and get vaccinated

5:17 pm on 11 October 2021

Iwi leaders are asking whānau to respect travel restrictions and to get vaccinated to help slow the spread of the Delta outbreak.

Paea Uiloa, right, speaks to vaccinator before vaccination

Iwi leaders are urging young Māori to stay home and get vaccinated, just as Paea Uiloa (Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Tonga) did at Te Rereatukāhia marae last week. Photo: Supplied / Bay of Plenty DHB

The National Iwi Chairs Pandemic Response Group said how the outbreak is tackled in the next few days and weeks will determine how the rest of the year pans out.

Data from last week shows 58 percent of Māori have had their first dose and only 35 percent are fully vaccinated.

The group's co-leader Mike Smith is asking rangatahi to help protect their whānau.

"We're calling on our young people to protect us at the moment," he told Midday Report. "We need you, just like our young warriors in the past, to be our young warriors in the present to protect the tribe.

"The best way you can do that is by staying at home and getting vaccinated."

Smith said iwi have volunteered to help man border checkpoints.

"We're offering volunteers to work with the police and alongside them which will free up other policing staff to take care of the other business that they need to do," he said.

Smith said it was in everyone's interests to not see a major spike in the number of cases, particularly in more isolated areas or Māori communities.

"People are getting frustrated," he conceded, but he urged people to stick to the rules.

"We are anticipating there could be a major spike in cases that could overwhelm the hospitals, and we've got to avoid that at all costs."

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