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Supporting Whānau To Prepare For A Healthy Future During Matariki

Matariki is a special occasion in the New Zealand calendar. Recognised for the first time this year as a public holiday, the reappearing of the Matariki cluster of stars in our night sky marks the start of the Māori New Year and is a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the year ahead.

This year, Waikato DHB is working with provider partners to support a series of whānau hauora and vaccination events during Matariki with the goal of ensuring everyone is connected with health and wellbeing services, protected and prepared for the winter.

The series of events began with a whānau hauora event at the Matariki Market Day in the Hamilton Gardens on Saturday 18 June, a day that brought together taonga Māori, kai and live entertainment to connect communities in Waikato.

“Staff from Waikato DHB, GP’s, pharmacies and Kaupapa Māori Providers throughout Waikato have been working hard to help our people get protected from the illnesses currently spreading in the community” says Maree Munro, Executive Lead, Waikato DHB COVID-19 and Immunisation Directorate.

“Dedicated teams have also worked extremely hard to ensure equity remained a focus throughout this mahi. However, while our DHB region has administered the highest number of flu vaccinations to our Māori population so far, we have still only reached 53% of Māori eligible for a free flu vaccination and only 52% of Pacific people. We are strongly encouraging everyone to take a moment this Matariki to reflect on their health and wellbeing and to take the actions necessary to protect themselves and their whānau from falling seriously ill this winter.”

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Matariki events being supported by Kaupapa Māori Providers throughout the Waikato through June and July include:

· Matawhaanui holding a Matariki Hautapu at Waahi Paa, Huntly on 23 and 24 June and hosting a private screening of the Lion King Te Reo Māori premiere on 26 June at Chartwell Cinema.

· Waahi Whaanui supporting vaccinations at a Matariki event being held at Horahora Marae on 24 June.

· Te Papanui Enderley Community Centre will be hosting three Matariki events from 21-23 June supported by Nga Miro, Raukura and Te Kohao Health.

· South Waikato Pacific Island Community Services Trust and the DHB are also collaborating to run an event in Tokoroa on 23 June,

· Waikato DHB are supporting an event at the Raglan Creative Matariki Market on 26 June.

· Ngāti Tumutumu Trust will offer its first whānau hauora event on 24 June

· A series of events will be run at the Maniapoto Whānau Ora Centre in Te Kuiti from 17 June finishing with a ‘Matariki vax day’ on 28 June,

· The Taumarunui Community Kokiri Trust will be hosting a series of events from 20 June, culminating in a ‘Matariki vax day’ on 29 June, and

· Te Kohao Health plans to support a ‘Matariki in the City’ whānau hauora event at Garden Place in Hamilton on Saturday 16 July.

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