New Zealand needs to get vaccinated now to beat Delta - and that's why NZME is launching The 90% Project.
Here, Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer explains why she decided to get vaccinated.
A te reo Māori version of the article is included below.
In my maiden speech, I spoke of my great-grandfather, Hohepa Tumahuki Ngarewa. He was one of the few Pakakohe-Ngāti Ruanui men who returned after being imprisoned in Dunedin during the land confiscations period in South Taranaki.
What I didn't mention is that upon returning, he married and had 10 children before losing his first wife and his tamariki to the influenza epidemic of the 19th-century.
The lack of trust in the health system, cultural understanding and lack of relatable whānau sharing the story worried whānau then – and still do today.
I live in a rural community high in disparity. One that struggles in the existing healthcare system for equitable health outcomes. I live in a rural community that lives in homes passed down through generations whose whānau move united, and collectively in hui, sports, karakia, kapa haka and tangi.
If Delta got loose in our community it would devastate us collectively.
Asking myself where I would stand in the Covid response with whānau turning to me for guidance, I had to look at the only real living experience I had. The experience of my tīpuna - Hohepa Tumahuki Ngarewa.
For some, it's just as easy to get caught up in the powers of social media. The effectiveness of how connected we are, while bringing benefits in today's world, also brings its challenges. But the most frustrating thing that ultimately determines whether to vaccinate or not is that there are two main sources of information: the Government and anti-vaxxers. I question the validity of both, even as a Māori politician.
Information can spread like wildfire in minutes, daunting for the person sitting on the fence and those simply unsure.
That's where my lived experience prevails. There's no denying the evidence of the past, it is simply a known. To put those knowns behind me and not let it influence my decision to vaccinate would be naïve.
Having 14 in my household, elderly parents with health conditions, and mokopuna who would be devastated to ever lose their nanny – I wasn't prepared to take the risk that comes with being unvaccinated.
My role and decision to get vaccinated as a daughter, mum, whaea and nan was based on looking back, acknowledging the knowns and focusing on one objective: to protect the future of my whakapapa.
I'm asking you today to join me – and get that jab.
TE REO VERSION
Nā Debbie Ngarewa-Packer
KO ŌKU NEI WHAKAARO
I roto i taku kōrero ōkawa tuatahi, ka kōrerotia mō tōku tipuna koroua, a Hōhepa Tumahuki Ngarewa.
Ko ia tētehi o te tokoiti o Pakakohe-Ngāti Ruanui i hoki mai i tana mau-heretanga i Ōtepoti i te wā o te Raupatu Whenua i Taranaki-ki-te-tonga.
Kāore au i whākī, i tana hokinga mai, ka moe wahine ā tekau ngā tamariki ka puta mai kātahi ka mate tana wahine me ana tamariki i te mate urutā, mate rewharewha i te rautau kotahi tekau-mā-iwi.
Ko te whakapono kore ki te pūnaha hauora, ko te tukituki o ngā ahurea, ko te iti o ngā whānau i tū ki te toha atu ā rātau kōrero, he mea anipā i taua wā – i ēnei rā anō hoki.
E noho ana au ki taiwhenua, he wāhi tōranga. E taukumekume ana i waenga i te pūnaha hauora kia tōkeke ai ngā hua o te hauora. E noho ana au ki taiwhenua, ā i tōku hapori he mea tuku iho ngā pā kāinga, ā ko ōna whānau ka kōkiri tahi ahakoa he hui, he tākaro, he karakia, he kapa haka, he tangihanga. Ki te puta mai te delta i waenganui i tō mātou hapori, ka parekuratia mātou.
Nā reira, ka pātaia e au, ki au anō, te pātai: He aha taku kōrero āwhina ki taku iwi e pā ana ki te Mate Korona? He māmā te whakautu, nā te mea i takea mai i aku wheako whaiaro. Arā ko te wheako o tōku tipuna – a Hōhepa Tumahuki Ngarewa.
Ki ētehi, ka whakawaia ki te mana o te pae pāpāho pāpori. He taonga te hononga ā-ipurangi, engari ka kitea ngā painga me ngā whakapātaritari. Engari ia, ko te whakahēmanawatanga e tuku rongoā āraimate rānei, e kore rānei, ko ngā rongorua i ngā puna kōrero e rua: arā i te Kāwanatanga, i te hunga ātete rongoā āraimate.
E tūpato ana au ki te pono o aua puna kōrero e rua, hāunga he kaitōrangapū Māori ahau. Ka hōrapa haere ngā mōhiohio ānō nei he ahi, ā ka rangirua te tangata noho taiepa, me huri ki hea?
Koia i toa ai aku wheako. Tē taea te whakahē i ngā taunaki onamata, e mōhiotia ana. Ki te aro kore au ki aua mōhiotanga, ki te kore au e mau mahara, nōku e whakatau ana mō te tuku rongoā āraimate, ka kiia au he kūare.
Ko te tokomaha o roto o tōku kāinga tekau-mā-whā, he pāhake aku mātua me ngā mate o te pāhaketanga, ka mutu, ka pēhea ngā mokopuna ki te riro atu tō rātau kuia – kāore au i whakaāetia kia pērātia te tūraru ki te kore e kai i te rongoā āraimate.
Ko taku mahi, ko taku whakatau kia whiwhi rongoā āraimate nā te mea he tamāhine au, he whaea, he kuia hoki, ka mutu, he tiro whakamuri, he aumihi hoki ki ngā mōhiotanga me te aro ki tētehi whāinga kotahi: kia kauparetia taku whakapapa haere ake nei. Ko tāku e tono nei kia whai wāhi ai koutou katoa – me huri kia werohia!