Demonstrating a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the achievement of Māori health equity remains a critical priority in the COVID-19 Māori health response. This Monitoring Report is the latest in a suite of strategic documents that have guided the Ministry of Health (the Ministry) and the health and disability sector in responding to COVID-19 for Māori.
Since the publication of the first Monitoring Report in May 2022, our response to COVID-19 has continued to pivot. Aotearoa New Zealand experienced a wave of COVID-19 and other illnesses over the winter of 2022, followed by the retirement of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (the traffic light system) as the winter outbreak eased.
Progress continued to be made against the priorities outlined in the Māori Protection Plan. This included increased communications tailored for and with Māori, increased funding for targeted outreach and whānau-centred vaccination services, distributing personal protective equipment and rapid antigen tests and supporting whānau through the Care in the Community programme.
Monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on Māori health has been integral to informing the evolving response of the health and disability system to give effect to the principles of Te Tiriti. The data presented in this Monitoring Report demonstrates where there have been improvements in addressing equity for Māori.
In other areas, inequities for Māori remain, including in COVID-19 hospitalisation rates, deaths and COVID-19 vaccination uptake, particularly among Māori aged 60 to 69 years. Monitoring of wider health system performance under the Māori Protection Plan also indicates that COVID-19 has exacerbated health inequities for Māori in areas such as childhood immunisation rates.
Monitoring of the Māori Protection Plan has affirmed the value of Māori community-led solutions and putting equity at the centre of the Māori COVID-19 response. Work done under the Māori Protection Plan has also highlighted the importance of data, research, monitoring and knowledge sharing to improve responsiveness and ensure accountability to Māori.