I have a huge amount of respect for Māori health researcher, Professor Rawiri Taonui. Rawiri Taonui (Te Hikutū and Ngāti Korokoro, Te Kapotai and Ngāti Paeahi, Ngāti Rora, Ngāti Whēru, Ngāti Te Taonui) was New Zealand’s first Professor of Indigenous Studies. He has written over 670 book chapters, media features, articles and opinion pieces, won 9 writing awards and given over 900 media interviews. So when he told us this week that Māori face the largest pandemic risk in 103 years, I listened.
In his view, Level 3 Delta has allowed more people to move about Auckland and cross Auckland borders with other regions, enabling and disguising Delta’s movement into the marginalised periphery of the Māori community. The evidence is unfolding in front of us. There are new cases in Raglan, Kāwhia, Hamilton and Karapiro. There is an elevated risk of further transmission into Northland and from the Waikato into other regions. The principal risk is to the lower vaccinated Māori community. The statistics are sobering:
All the statistics in the world, however, won’t make a difference if they sit static in news releases without sparking the conversations we need to be having. The rongoa is found in the korero. We have to keep talking about Delta; about vaccination; about cherishing life; protecting the pa; making our contribution towards upholding the sanctity of life.
Our biggest challenge to addressing the dramatic path of the Delta Strain is not just the abundance of conspiracy theories; it is complacency.
We need to bring our best minds together, to create new strategies and devise new approaches. It was so exciting this week to see the launching of a new campaign, “I’m vaccinated for my kapa haka”.
While Te Matatini, the national organisation for kapa haka is discussing whether it will only allow whānau to attend if they are vaccinated, title defender Ngā Tūmanako became the first haka group to run its own vaccination programme.
The korero is steadily building – we do not want to be the generation that takes our eyes off a deadly virus that places all our whānau at risk – we all need to have the conversations, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, there’s plenty to talk about.
The first step in our recovery is in the korero.
Talk about it – let’s bring the change we need to see.
This week our amazing kaimahi Eileen Woolland and Gina-Lee Duncan were proud to participate in the Elite Wool Industry Training’s annual two-day research and development meeting. Elite delivers quality shearer and wool handling training and asked Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to speak at this event to make sure that their trainers are aware of the supports and opportunities provided by the Whānau Ora network.
Historically the wool industry has been known to be challenging and demanding, and it is exciting to see changes being made and wellbeing becoming a key focus amongst trainers. With generations of shearing in her whānau, Eileen was particularly pleased to see this shift in perspective as the industry welcomes Whānau Ora into these spaces. Both Gina-Lee and Eileen were given a warm welcome and felt privileged to spend time alongside the most amazing and skilled shearers and wool handlers in the country – they even had the opportunity to shear the last side of a sheep each.
Elite Wool Industry provide training observing the four pillars of Te Whare Tapa Wha wellbeing Taha Tinana, Taha Wairua, Taha Hinengaro and Taha Whanau. We have been thrilled to invest in them through our Wave 15 funding.
This week has been a refreshing one, bringing with it quarterly reporting from a number of our Wave initiatives. It is always wonderful to peruse these reports and remind ourselves of the many amazing things going on throughout the motu.