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Funding Boost Supports Ongoing Māori COVID-19 Response

The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.

This increased funding of $38 million will ensure Māori health providers provide ongoing support to Māori communities while responding to COVID-19. It comes after engagement with the Māori health and disability sector, which showed providers are struggling to support the COVID-19 response within their current resources.

“Māori are one of the most at-risk communities for COVID-19 and vaccination rates for Māori are behind the general population. However Māori health providers are well connected to their communities and have demonstrated their ability to protect whānau and get them vaccinated so we are increasing their support so they can keep doing that work without having to pull back,” Peeni Henare said.

“It’s critical we put further resource into our Māori health providers at this time, especially with the increased risk posed by Delta and the current push to increase Māori vaccination rates.

“There is clear evidence that Māori health providers are making inroads into our hard to reach communities and those who may be vaccine hesitant. It’s important they can continue this work with the funding and resources they need,” Peeni Henare said.

Out of the total fund, $17 million will go to providers to help them adapt their current services to support the response, whilst also maintaining other essential services.

“Our Māori health providers have told us they’re under immense pressure with increased demand to support testing, contact tracing, case management, and vaccinations, while also trying to keep up with their other work.

“This funding ensures our providers can continue to support their communities without burning out or losing capacity,” Peeni Henare said.

“$14 million of this funding will ensure whānau, especially those living in hard-to-reach areas, are able to access testing, vaccinations, medications, and other essential health services.

“As well as taking care of their physical needs, it’s also important whānau are able to access mental health and wellbeing support. So, a further $3 million will be invested in a multi-media campaign and community programmes,” Peeni Henare said.

A portion of this funding has also been allocated to directly support whānau, many of whom have been put under considerable stress through this recent outbreak.

“An additional $2 million will ensure providers can work through the long tail of this current outbreak and prepare for future outbreaks,” Peeni Henare said.

Willie Jackson said today’s announcement was a culmination of work done between the Ministry of Health and Te Puni Kōkiri.

“This funding is about supporting those who are most vulnerable, whānau Māori. We know what’s happening on the ground within our communities and the importance of vaccinations,” Willie Jackson said.

“This announcement demonstrates the Government’s willingness and confidence to invest in Maori providers to deliver to our communities. That’s why TPK will kick-in $2 million immediately to get the project underway,” Willie Jackson said.

The $2 million is part of a $5 million reprioritised fund from the COVID-19, 2021 Whānau Recovery Fund, announced earlier this month to provide immediate relief to vulnerable whānau Māori and communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak. The $2 million will go to Māori health providers who work directly with TPK, supporting community driven, local responses to gaps in access and provision of critical services such as vaccination.

“I am incredibly proud of our Māori health providers and the work they do for whānau Māori. Their passion and dedication to their communities is an exemplar for the rest of the health and disability system – me mihi ka tika,” Peeni Henare said.

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