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New vaccine opportunities for Christchurch’s Māori and Pacific communities

Claudia Toxopeus
covid 19 vaccination booth nzh
Wiki Commons  Vaccinations are now open to group 4

A unique collaboration between Māori and Pacific healthcare providers could mean greater Covid-19 vaccine opportunities for the community.

Despite being open for less than a week, the new vaccination clinic in Hornby Hub is already booked to the brim.

The Maui Clinic, run by Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi and Tangata Atumotu Trust, aims to not only lift Christchurch’s current vaccine rate but also encourage Māori and Pasifika people to get the jab.

Te Puawaitangi ki Ōtautahi Trust General Manager Alison Bourn says it’s vital to embrace the multicultural society that is Aotearoa.

“It’s important that everyone feels welcome, and we believe if Maori and Pasifika feel welcome, then everyone will.”

General Manager at Tangata Atumotu, Carmen Collie, says prior to the centres opening, there were no services available to Pasifika and Maori in Hornby.

“Transportation and accessibility are key reasons why Pasifika and Māori aren’t showing up for vaccinations.”

An issue, the Maui Clinic and Collie hope to address.

“Pasifika and Māori often tend to suffer poor health outcomes across lots of domains.”

The clinic is in high demand, and team leader at Te Puawaitanga, James Tawa, says it’s great to meet the needs of the community.

Within the first 24 hours, they were fully booked for two days. This number has since significantly risen.

The clinic has the capacity to vaccinate between 220 and 300 people a day.

Bookings for Covid-19 vaccines opened to Group 4 last week, despite only 20 per cent of Group 3 getting at least one dose so far.

The arrival of the clinic comes after the Canterbury District Health Board faced backlash for a delayed vaccine rollout.

Cantabrians in Group 4 were told they will get their first vaccine dose from mid-September, despite being officially eligible at the end of July. 

The CDHB recently announced they now have 14 clinics in Christchurch and 18 in rural Canterbury, with plans to open at least another five this week.

Senior Covid response officer for the CDHB, Ralph La Salle said they “strongly encourage everyone to be patient and wait their turn.” 

James Tawa agrees.

“If you do not look after yourself, you are not looking after the community.”