A total of $120 million will go towards helping to accelerate Māori vaccination rates, the Government has announced.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just outlined more details about the Government's new traffic light system set to replace the current alert level lockdown system when a vaccination target has been met.
The $120m for Māori will be split in two: there will be $60m to further support vaccination rates, and $60m to support Māori and iwi-led initiatives that aim to protect communities from the Covid-19.
Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health) Peeni Henare called on Māori, particularly young Māori, to come forward and follow the lead of their elders.
"Our kuia, kaumātua are leading the way and now we need the rest of the whānau to do the same.
"I say to my whānau and to our people: Koinei te wā - the time is now'."
Young Māori continue to show a low vaccination rate; many aged 20-29 have only had their first jab so far.
At the moment, 67 per cent (384,711) of the eligible Māori population have had at least one dose. Of those, 46 per cent (265,424) of Māori are now fully vaccinated against the virus.
That vaccination rate is significantly lower than any other demographic so far.
Māori health providers, iwi and community groups - including marae - have been calling for a Māori for Māori approach in the vaccination roll-out for months and especially so during the current outbreak, as more Māori fell victim to Covid.
Health authorities have said it has been difficult to reach Māori living in more rural or isolated areas of the country, while some Māori have said they simply cannot get to a vaccination centre because of work commitments or because it is too far.
In recent weeks, Māori health experts have explained that there remains a deep mistrust among some Māori for the Crown and Government, and therefore the vaccine it is promoting.
Despite that, a lot of work has been made among iwi and Māori health providers to get vulnerable communities, including Pasifika, vaccinated during the current outbreak.
'We know how this ends if we don't get it right'
That has particularly been seen in the Auckland region - specifically West Auckland and South Auckland - as the outbreak started to affect mostly Māori and Pasifika.
Groups including Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust and the Manurewa Marae continue to promote the need to vaccinate and have set up various vaccination clinics over the past few months.
National Māori Authority chairman Matthew Tukaki has welcomed the additional funds for Māori organisations and said it was important for people to get vaccinated, given previous deadly pandemics such as the Spanish flu and the polio epidemic that hit Māori hard.
Tukaki also acknowledged what has been a grim reality for Māori in previous pandemics.
"We have been here before. We know how this ends if we do not get it right - bodies in boxes, standing over a hole talking about all the things that should have been done."
Earlier this week, Henare spoke directly to Māori and brought a sombre tone to the media conference when he said: "I say to the Māori people, Covid-19 is on the doorstep of your houses - do not let it enter.
"The best course of protection still remains for us to vaccinate our people."