There could be up to 6000 Māori struck down with Covid-19 by Christmas, experts say.
Māori Covid-19 analyst Dr Rawiri Taonui said the moves the Government had made during this outbreak had all pre-empted a surge in cases of Covid among Māori.
"When Auckland went to level 3, there was a surge in Māori cases. Forty-two days in a row now - highest cases every day," he told Breakfast.
"Last week, Auckland went to 3.2 and Northland to 2 and in the four days since, there's been more than 100 Māori cases a day - more than 50 per cent of all new cases announced, for the first time."
Moving Waikato to alert level 2 while there are still very low Māori vaccination rates in mid-central, Lakes and Taranaki district health board regions was "not wise", he said.
Asked what the modelling showed about the future of community cases among Māori, Taonui revealed a worrying figure.
"On the current seven-day trend with no increase, we're looking at 6000 Māori cases by Christmas."
Māori vaccination is still about 20 to 22 per cent behind the national vaccination rate, Taonui said, and there was nothing safe about the Government's traffic light system in regards to Māori.
"In the race between increasing Māori cases and vaccination, Delta is winning hands down."
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Plank agreed and said: "Māori are bearing the brunt of this outbreak again."
The data shows Māori are more likely to end up in hospital if they catch Covid-19 and particularly as vaccination rates are still low in that community, he said.
Taonui said the Government needed to give more time for Māori vaccination rates to increase still - as well as Pacific peoples and those in poorer communities.
Plank said moving to the traffic light system cannot be looked at as a freedom day.
"That would be a disaster."
If we use the system cautiously, that could allow us a safe way to move forward while using vaccine passport passes, Plank said.
Taonui said iwi leaders had rejected the traffic light system.
Māori health providers are working really hard still to get vaccination rates up. In the past two months, the Māori vaccination rate had gone up 57 per cent and the work was still going.
"But we need to be given the room to catch up on what was a very poor vaccination roll-out," he said.
At Waipareira Trust's testing station in Henderson, staff posted on social media that there were approximately "50 whānau a day testing positive" at its Henderson testing station.