13 Dec 2021

Māori bearing the brunt of Covid-19 in Tāmaki Makaurau, Independent Māori Statutory Board says

7:06 pm on 13 December 2021

Māori in Auckland have been significantly and disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 across nearly every metric, a new report has detailed.

David Taipari, Independent Maori Statutory Board. 10 August 2016.

Independent Māori Statutory Board chairperson David Taipari. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The report was commissioned by the Independent Māori Statutory Board and compiled by the agency Sapere.

Board chairperson David Taipari said Tāmaki Makaurau had borne the brunt of the pandemic in Aotearoa, and Māori were bearing it more than many others.

"Given the length of the latest lockdown - more than 100 days - the report shows the cumulative effects of Covid-19 are yet to be fully realised, but are likely to be more severe over time," he said in a statement.

"This is concerning as the report also highlights the negative impact Covid-19 has already had on our Māori communities".

The report showed Māori are the most affected in a wide array of areas, including job losses, financial hardship and those on welfare or food support.

One of the report's contributors, Papakura Marae CEO Tony Kake, said the effects were clear.

"Accommodation, food services, manufacturing, construction. You know, they are big employers of Māori and those were the ones that were [shut] down," Kake said.

This led to a 38 percent increase in a single quarter for the number of Māori on the Job Seeker benefit in Tāmaki Makaurau, the report said.

It also included the results of a survey of 2000 Māori, which found that nearly half of respondents had indicated that Covid-19 had put relationships under stress or was a factor in a relationship ending.

Kake said it shows the need for a Māori-specific response in Tāmaki Makaurau, rather than a monolithic general response.

"It's all very well to raise these issues, but I want the government, I want local government to understand that Māori have been severely impacted on this."