Vaccination rates of Māori in Taranaki are improving as health providers push for more whānau to get the Covid-19 jab.
District health board statistics show that although Māori make up 15.6 per cent of people eligible for Covid vaccination in Taranaki, they have only received 10 per cent of the shots given in the region.
But last week 1143 Māori had shots in Taranaki, making up 21 per cent of all vaccinations in the region – double the previous rate.
It will take a sustained effort to catch up with non-Māori: despite last week's doubling, the Māori share of all shots so far in Taranaki only gained slightly, from 9.7 per cent to 10 per cent by the end of the week.
Health provider Tui Ora is holding community pop-up vaccination clinics in partnership with iwi.
Last week Tui Ora was in Ōpunakē and Waitara, and this week set up at Marfell Community School and at Rangiātea campus in Spotswood.
Tui Ora clinical nurse lead Robyn Taylor said the clinics were in communities with high Māori populations to serve whānau Māori.
"We've been going to them, where they are, in their community as opposed to expecting them to come to us."
She says not all whānau have a car and the clinic at the TSB stadium is not on a bus route.
Ngāti Ruanui Health general manager Graham Young said the organisation's Māori-only vaccination focus was essential, and health workers had been phoning whānau directly.
"So we've reached out and we've talked to them and where there's a bit of hesitancy we've talked to them and provided them with information and then maybe gone back to them later on after they've had a time to absorb it, and talk about the issues that are of concern to them."
Ngāruahine Iwi Health Services, previously focused on Covid testing, is now holding vaccine clinics on marae.
General manager Warren Nicholls said jabs were given at Aotearoa Pā in Okaiawa on Tuesday and next Monday the team would be at Tawhitinui Marae at Otakeho.
"No apologies: this is targeted for Māori. This is about reaching out … creating the environment where those trusted relationships can reach out, support, have the conversations and encourage whānau to protect our whakapapa, protect our mokopuna, our kaumātua and whānau katoa."
More Ngāruahine clinics will be held at Ngārongo, Waiokura, and Rangatapu marae in the following three weeks.
As an added incentive an iPhone 12 or Galaxy 21 phone will be given away.
At Marfell Community School Maria Hana said she wasn't going to get the vaccine because of what she had read on social media.
But seeing the pop-up clinic in her neighbourhood she decided on the spur of the moment to get vaccinated.
"I'm the first in my family to have one and I'm hoping that when I tell my family they'll come along as well."
Zaine Allen had already booked for his first shot in a fortnight, but his wife told him about the clinic and it was convenient to go early.
"I've had lots of other vaccinations, I didn't see why this would be any different."
Early childhood educator Aroaro Tāmati was also booked for her second shot in a week's time, but took the chance to go early.
"I think they should have more of these – these are the way. They're just more responsive to the community."
She knew of people who had read on social media false information that the mRNA vaccine would affect their DNA.
"There's that misinformation, and the argument is that whakapapa will be affected. But actually, if you vaccinate you protect whakapapa – getting the vaccine protects whakapapa."
She said misinformation was confusing people and immobilised them into doing nothing.