Lakes District Health Board has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the country and while the number of Māori protected against the virus is in line with the rest of the country - the number is low.
New Zealand's general Covid-19 vaccination rate is 15.7 per cent, yet the figure is just 7.2 per cent for Māori. Almost 40 per cent of the Lakes DHB population is Māori.
Lakes DHB comes in fourth behind Nelson Marlborough, West Coast and South Canterbury.
In the Bay of Plenty DHB, with almost a third of the population being Māori, the general vaccination rate is 13 per cent - for Maōri it's 6.4 per cent.
A Lakes DHB spokeswoman said when analysing the data it was important to note there was a lower proportion of Māori aged over 65.
"We also know the Māori population is skewed towards younger age brackets, particularly in the under-55 age band, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
"However, we expect Māori vaccination rates will rise as the vaccination programme progresses through the younger age bands in Group 4."
This week, the DHB administered its 50,000th vaccination. The spokeswoman believed overall the health board was doing well as it achieved 98 per cent of its planned weekly target.
As of 12pm on Monday, July 26, an estimated 71 per cent of all people over 65 had received their first dose, and within that group, 59 per cent of Māori over 65 have received their first dose.
The DHB was working hard in partnership with iwi and Māori health providers to continue to lift vaccination rates for Māori in the region, the spokeswoman said. The DHB has taken a whānau-centred approach meaning when one person is eligible, the whole whānau can be vaccinated.
"The numbers have increased in the past few weeks and we expect this trend to continue.
"There have been numerous outreach vaccination clinics held on marae and at community centres which have seen kaumatua and their whānau vaccinated."
Vaccinated kaumatua were able to discuss with other family members how positive the experience had been and how important being vaccinated was to protect whakapapa.
"It is expected that this face-to-face promotion by elders who have been vaccinated will improve rates as the rollout ramps up."
The spokeswoman said the DHB was prepared to meet the target of 5000 vaccinations a week as the rollout moves to Group 4.
An example of working in partnership was Te Puna Ora o Mataatua launching a mobile vaccination centre this week, said trust chief executive Dr Chris Tooley.
"The Eastern Bay of Plenty is behind on where we want to be when it comes to vaccination rates.
"To help with that we are removing barriers for those that need extra support, through location bookings and transport assistance."
The mobile team will soon be available for large group bookings. If you have a group of 30 to 60 people who want to be vaccinated in Mataatua, the team can come to you or provide transport to its Whakatāne site.
Med Central Practice manager Kahlise Hata said more Māori had died from Covid-19 in New Zealand than any other ethnic group.
"And we know from historical infectious diseases, like the flu, Māori are disproportionately affected."
The full-scale rollout has officially started this week with Group 4 given the green light on Wednesday.
In most DHBs the rate for Māori is about half the general population, while some are well below half.
Ministry of Health Covid vaccination equity group manager Jason Moses told the Herald this week the low rates were "largely attributed" to the lower proportion of Māori in Groups 1 and 2 of the vaccination programme – particularly among the frontline healthcare workforce - and lower age demographic.
This was expected to narrow as they moved further into Groups 3 and 4, which both had higher proportions of Māori, he said.
The sequencing framework gave DHBs, which knew their communities best, the "flexibility to respond to their area's particular needs and tailor approaches that work best for their different populations", he said.
The Government had also set aside $39 million to boost Māori vaccination rates, including nearly $30m to health providers for equity programmes.