In 1982, Race Relations conciliator Hiwi Tauroa's report A Race Against Time said New Zealand was in a race to provide equality for Māori. Māori numbers in the Delta outbreak show nothing has changed.
Māori were 40 (54 per cent) of the 74 new Delta cases announced yesterday. Māori have the highest daily cases for the 25th day in a row. The five highest daily Māori totals in the outbreak have come in the past seven days.
The number of Māori cases has more than doubled over the past fortnight from 388 on October 11 to 924 yesterday. Pacific peoples are the most affected demographic, with 1101 cases during the outbreak.
However, Māori cases are rising three times quicker than Pacific cases. If this trend continues, the total number of Māori cases will pass the total for Pacific peoples in six to seven days.
Suffering is not a competition. The reality is that the Government has failed to deliver equity for Māori and Pacific peoples. Māori and Pacific peoples were 62 per cent of new cases yesterday; 66 per cent of new cases since Auckland went to alert level 3; 72 per cent of all Delta cases since the outbreak began; 60 per cent of all active cases; a staggering 77 per cent of hospitalisations; and one each of the two deaths during the outbreak.
This situation only looks to worsen. Key risk indicators are rising. The average number of daily cases is seven times higher than in the first week of Auckland at alert Level 3.
New cases with community exposure are six times higher, and daily unlinked cases 18 times higher. Unlinked cases over the past fortnight are 27 times higher.
The number of managed active cases passed 1300 for the first time yesterday. Active cases are no longer going into quarantine or isolation; director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said they will isolate at home "to support the system". The fact is the system has no room.
The number of new cases in the wider outbreak rose 44 per cent (382) to the week ending October 18 and 76 per cent (677) to the week ending October 25. An increase over the next week to November 1 of between 50-80 per cent will mean another 1000 to 1200 new cases, of which 450 to 550 will be Māori.
Total Delta cases will reach 3700 to 3900. The total for Māori will be 1300 to 1400.
The Health Service User index, which the Ministry of Health ues to calculate vaccination numbers, undercounts Māori by 7 per cent. Adjusting for this, just 46.1 per cent of Māori were double-vaccinated.
A further 18.9 per cent have had their first vaccine. Together, 65 per cent of Māori have received at least one dose.
Māori remain well behind the rest of the population.
On the positive side, although three times higher than in the first week of alert level 3, hospitalisations (41) and ICU cases (5) mean Delta has not yet overrun the health system.
On current indicators, this may only be a matter of time.
Alongside the immense personal courage of frontline health workers risking their wellbeing, Māori Health Providers are making heroic efforts to close the vaccination gap.
Nearly 119,000 Māori have received a first or second vaccine dose since September 15.
This 42.6 per cent increase is higher than any other ethnicity and more than double for the Pākehā population (20.4 per cent).
Māori providers are also undertaking huge work to vaccinate the low 54.7 per cent vaccinated 12 to 34 Māori cohort (23.6 per cent one dose only, 31 per cent fully vaccinated).
Over the past six days, a further 7000 have been vaccinated, the highest increase of all Māori age groups.
The number of Māori who have received at least one vaccine (65 per cent) is 75 per cent of the New Zealand total (84.2 per cent), a rise of 23 per cent since early August.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declined to include an equity vaccination figure for Māori, saying she will turn on the "traffic lights" when the overall vaccinations reach 90 per cent because "it is important to reward those who did the right thing".
In saying that she ignores that the age-structured rollout disadvantaged Māori because 51 per cent of our population is aged under 35. The rollout was also structurally racist because it prioritised and privileged 400,000 Pākehā aged over 65 while making 50,000 Māori aged over 45 with the same or higher heath risk profiles wait in line.
Māori are in a race against time.
• Dr Rawiri Taonui is an independent writer, researcher and adviser.