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Maori leader reiterates the message of vaccination as the roll for Tamariki begins

The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has again called on Te Ao Maori to get their booster shots and begin to have their Tamariki and mokopuna vaccinated as childhood vaccinations get underway. Tukaki, who has been meeting with some Iwi and Hapu leaders in Auckland today has said that for as long as we can we need to boost our defenses against Omicron as it is “closer than people may think of entering the community”.

“If I can urge everyone to take the emergence of Omicron seriously in our communities – what worries me above all else is the effect it will have in our urban centres where population density is high – the reality is we have whanau who have caught Delta in the last few months because they live in close proximity, in sometimes overcrowded living conditions – its one of the many reasons why we need to ensure that booster shots are being done but also childhood vaccinations are being ramped up” Tukaki said

“This must include a very Maori and Pacific peoples pandemic plan that also does work on the plethora of additional social and support services that need to be stood up – keep in mind we might be dealing with a health response but underlying that is whanau isolating in homes who still need access to kai, who might not be able to work, who might have additional financial pressures on them and so forth – this is why the mahi of Maori and Pacific social services organisations are so important the next few months and beyond” he said

Tukaki also reiterated the need to push back against mis-information such as parental consent not being required for Tamariki vaccinations:

“It is a lie that parents do not have a say – this is why I have been saying for a while now that if parents have questions get your information from a trusted source – and that trusted source is not a plethora of overseas websites. Get your information from trusted health and medical professionals, your local hauora or someone from your Iwi and hapu you trust and that works in these fields” Tukaki said

Tukaki reiterated the beginning of the new school year is just around the corner and he also didn’t rule out calling for a delay of the start to the new school year if Omicron does take hold:

“Our concern must always be with whanau first and if it is one thing that could keep our Tamariki safe as the next stage of this pandemic unfolds is by delaying slightly the new school year to get childhood vaccinations up then lets consider that” he said


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