4 October 2021

Kaupapa Māori approach bridging the vaccination support needs of migrant and ethnic communities

The Māui Clinic @ South City is a hub for Māori and other priority populations including migrant and ethnic communities wanting to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. The kaupapa Māori approach is proving to be valued and appreciated by different ethnic communities.

Hauora Māori Manager, Melody Tuliau, has been key in setting up this clinic. She says, “For Māori, we value being respected, having face-to-face conversations, we value people that understand and speak our language. We know that works for other populations as well.”

“We recognise that we don’t all speak the same language. We organised interpreters, and invited people from the community that are known to those getting vaccinated to come and be that friendly face. We’re all about having a friendly face in a friendly space. “

Ester Vallero, CALD Health Manager suggests the strength of the Māui Clinic is wholly due to its kaupapa Māori approach. “We work with community leaders, they call their people, and we work together to adapt the day, so it works for them. We are able to accommodate supports like providing interpreters for them. The kaupapa is about being welcoming and manaakitanga is a natural fit.”

Manaakitanga acknowledges the mana of others as having equal or greater importance than one’s own, through the expression of aroha, hospitality, generosity and mutual respect.

The Muslim community has worked together with The Māui Collective to get their community onboard to get vaccinated. Imam of the Al Noor Mosque, Gamal Fouda, came to get vaccinated with his family. He says, “The Muslim community is like any other community that is having to deal with misinformation. It’s good that The Ministry for Ethnic Communities and the Ministry of Health have information available for people, so they can get informed.”

“I’m encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. Once we do it, we can open our borders, so we can visit family and have families visit us and open to the rest of the world.”

Imam of the Al Noor Mosque, Gamal Fouda, came to get vaccinated with his family

When not working in construction, Habibullah Hussaini, one of the representatives from the Hazara community, helps the Rasol-O-Allah Islamic Center community in Bishopdale to run their programmes and events. He says there are people in their community who have never been vaccinated before. He has been working with The Māui Collective to get the Hazara community vaccinated. “Our community are happy to go get vaccinated at a place they know and where there are people that they know.” 

One of the interpreters at the Māui Clinic is 22-year-old registered nurse, Nagina Miyakhel. She is a Pashto interpreter, facilitating discussions between the vaccinators, the administrators and the Pashto-speaking people getting vaccinated. She says, “my role here today is to make conversations easier, flow well, and make people feel comfortable.” Her background in health helps when explaining what’s happening to people.  

Nagina says the Māui clinic’s approach to whānau ora works for the Afghan community. “Afghans are kind of similar to Māori; for us, family is important.” She says her own immediate family of 96 are slowly getting themselves vaccinated. “My auntie was here earlier getting vaccinated,” she says.

She says many in the Afghan Pashtun community are quite reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. She says they have heard misinformation but do not have access to much official information that they can understand. “The lack of accessible information is becoming a barrier.” She says she’s trying her best to speak to people, interpreting official information in their language, hoping to address their worries. She said it’s hard for people when information on COVID-19 is mainly in English.   

“Having specific places for people to go to that accommodates their needs, helps to promote vaccination.”

She says that health promotion, health education and sharing the consequences of not getting vaccinated is needed for the Pashtun community.

“If they know what’s going to happen in the future, that will motivate them. Understanding consequences, if they get sick, they may not be able to work. They could be putting people at risk. We all need to put public safety first.”

The Māui Collective is motivated by the need to achieve Pae Ora- Health futures for Māori. Our vaccination clinic provides whānau with the opportunity to make a choice about where they choose to receive their health service, who provides their health service and a health service that promotes Oranga as the key principle for quality healthcare.

While vaccination is recognised as an important activity in the fight against the Covid-19 and the more recent Delta variant, we recognise that testing for Covid-19 and Delta is another important activity that needs our attention and look forward to expanding our services into other key areas supporting wellbeing for whānau and ensuring quality care for our communities.   The Māui Clinic @ South City is a partnership between Māori hauora providers He Waka Tapu and  Purapura Whetu, members of the Canterbury Māui Collective.

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