Members of our community shared their reasons for getting vaccinated.
Arna Rose Solomon-Banks: I chose to get vaccinated to protect our family, our Whakapapa.
The influenza or Spanish Flu was deadly, massive deaths for Maaori in Waikato in particular. My great grand parents died from this and my grandfather Te Hira Hiwinui was left an orphan. Princess Te Puea Herangi adopted him and many others that were left homeless from the floods and the Influenza at Mangatawhiri, Te Paenga. She moved them to Ngaaruawaahia to build a new home and Marae together – Turangawaewae Marae. This is one of the reasons I vaccinate to protect my family my Whakapapa and to honour my ancestors who died from the influenza and those like my grandad.
Mike Rarere: I got the vaccination to protect my whaanau.
Because my work includes meeting with lots of people everyday, not just from Whaaingaroa/Raglan but also visitors to our beautiful town, I got the vaccination to protect my mokopuna and whanau, and our Raglan Community House whanau. Mauri ora
The reason I got vaccinated is because at this point it’s our only option to get things more or less back to normal whilst preventing people getting sick or dying.
I understand the uncertainty around vaccines, but when covid riddles the country, which it will, it’s going to be something we have to adapt to live with. This virus can be unforgiving, it killed one of my family members who was young, our country has limited medical facilities. We can’t stay locked down forever. So to end lockdown and stay out of hospital, I encourage you all to get the vaccine and get back to the things we love.
Tena Koutou Katoa
E nga iwi o nga reo Rangatira o Whaingaroa
Greetings to the people of the Raglan community. My name is Russell Riki. I am one of the local Māori Kaumatua, and advocate for Māori Philosophy.
I have been asked by Raglan Medical Centre to share my views from a Māori perspective in regards to Covid-19 that has affected our community.
Here’s my story…Over the last three years my health has declined. I suffer from many of the illnesses that typically affect our Māori people. Eventually I ended up in hospital a number of times. I was told that, because of all my illnesses, if I was to catch Covid I wouldn’t get sick… I would die. I was told that I would have a 97% chance of dying if I caught Covid. I got vaccinated. I was thinking about my loved ones; children, grandchildren, family, friends and my Māoritanga and how I still need to be in their lives. My purpose for telling you this story is not to tell you to vaccinate or not but to share with you my experience and the reasons that it was the right choice for me. I’m hearing over the news and TV that government and health officials are saying how Māori people are not coming forward to receive their vaccination. I do understand that within our community Māori people have differing views on vaccination… some are for vaccination, some are against and some are sitting on the fence. I’m not here to judge anyone or be judged myself. But what I want to say to my people is to listen to the news and find all the information that you need to make your decision so that you base your choice on facts. I just want my people to have a say and encourage our people to research this thoroughly yourself by getting information – talking to people, listening to the news, talking to your friends, doctors, your tribal leaders/ kaumatua, marae gatherings and church leaders.
Where we sit as Māori, with all the health issues we already suffer from, we will be more vulnerable if Covid was to infect our families.
This is not to persuade you either way but rather to encourage you to seek more information based on facts so that you can make a clear decision. This is my story. I encourage you all to talk about it as I have.
I would like to thank the Raglan Medical Centre Dr Mike Loten and his entire team for all the care that they have given me over all the years.
Also to Dr Fiona Bolden a heart felt thanks for her tireless and ongoing support to Māoridom.
Parting words; I believe that if you put your best foot forward and find the information that you need, you will arrive at the right decision for you and your family.
Mauri Ora. Russell.
I got my vaccine done at Poihakena Marae when they first came to Whaingaroa. I did it to protect myself and my whānau.