Call to move from ‘one size fits all’ to equity-focused COVID-19 response


Call to move from ‘one size fits all’ to equity-focused COVID-19 response

Simon Royal
National Hauora Coalition chief executive Simon Royal says protecting Māori communities from COVID-19 requires resources to be targeted immediately
“We are strongly calling on the Ministry of Health and other agencies to ensure that the rest of the significant Government investment and response is


An emailed response arrived from Deputy Director-General of Māori Health John Whaanga after this story was published:

Equity for Mâori is a critical feature central to the Ministry’s COVID-19 response. My office is developing a Mâori Response Action Plan to:

-        prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst Mâori communities,

-        mitigate any issues and challenges COVID-19 presents for Mâori,

-        and protect our whânau.

This response will complement the all-of-government Mâori response and the National Health Coordination Centre’s Mâori Response Plan.

Funding has been set aside for a Māori-focused COVID-19 response. This funding will support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19.

The funding will enable community-based initiatives, including:

o   Working with the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies to deliver hygiene and sanitation packs as well as quality health information to our communities;

o   Working alongside the annual influenza campaign to deliver flu vaccines to our communities;

o   Supporting marae and other iwi organisations to be community-based assessment centres;

o   Providing financial support to eliminate barriers to health care, including payment for prescriptions and health services;

o   And providing continuity of care for kaumātua through food parcels, medications and further resources.

We are also providing financial assistance to Māori providers and the workforce to enable them to meet the increased demand.

We are moving quickly to get funding and resources out to our providers and the communities that need them most as soon as possible. Funding has already been released to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies to support the delivery of their health and hygiene packs.

We will continue to work at pace to make sure our whānau get the support they need.

The Government has also prepared a targeted package to support Mâori communities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key aspects of this package include funding for:

-        Supporting Mâori businesses,

-        Supporting marae and other iwi organisations to be community-based assessment centres,

-        Wrap around health services and wellbeing support for Mâori communities,

-        Care packages, access to food, hygiene and sanitation packs, warm clothing, essential supplies,

-        And access to quality health information.

For more information about the funding, please see: