The Māori Health team of the Bay of Plenty DHB, Te Pare ō Toi, this week launches its version of the national Ko te tamaiti te pūtake (The child is the essence) campaign that empowers mātua (parents) and kaumatua (grandparents) to make informed and holistic decisions about the health of their tamariki/mokopuna.
The campaign includes hapori collab events, videos, posters for providers and GP’s, social media tiles, public relations and online Zui events.
Marama Tauranga, Manukura of Te Pare ō Toi says this phase of the campaign will focus on connecting whānau to credible vaccination information from trusted sources, however the surrounding and future messages are much wider than that and encompass a whānau’s hinengaro (mental and emotional), tinana (body) and wairua (spirit).
We understand that whānau confidence about vaccination lies within communities, in relationships, in the whakapapa, tikanga and kawa of each whānau and hapū, as well as giving people the ability to wānanga perceptions on this topic,” says Tauranga.
Tauranga says the approach “doesn’t in any way minimise the very real threat of Covid / Delta or Omicron to Māori communities. We already know that Covid and its variants are likely to affect the lungs, airways and give whānau flu-like symptoms if they become positive. If you have an existing health condition, your risk of more severe symptoms or complications increases exponentially.
“At the heart of the campaign is the outcome we aspire for mokopuna living within the boundaries of Te Moana a Toi, described in the health philosophy Te Toi Ahorangi as; “Whakamana whānau to nurture the sacred mana and mauri of all mokopuna and address harm to our mokopuna in all its forms.”
Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o te Moana a Toi, the Māori Health Rūnanga tautoko the approach.
Rūnanga Chairperson, Linda Steel says the campaign is holistic and represents a Te Ao Māori view of oranga (wellbeing) which includes the importance of not just Western medicine but also remaining grounded in mātauranga Māori.
“This is not just about COVID-19 vaccination for tamariki. While the child is the essence, parents are the foundation and we want to encourage mātua (parents) to take an active role in decision-making for their tamariki,” says Steel.
The campaign aims to connect mātua and whānau with trusted people and information to help Māori feel comfortable about immunisation for tamariki,” says Steel.
Rūnanga Deputy Chairperson Kipouaka Pukekura hopes the campaign empowers whānau to differentiate between trusted sources and misinformation.
“We want whānau to feel good about the decisions they are making, knowing that the health providers understand the significance of their cultural values, care about their tamariki and are genuinely interested in their overall wellbeing. After all, whānau are the ‘kaitiaki’, the protector and they only want what’s best for their tamariki.
“Our cultural integrity is kept intact through our own belief systems guided by the Maramataka to produce our māra kai, fishing by the stars and moon, mirimiri, te reo, karakia, Rongoā, our own traditional medicine working in tandem alongside best medical practices” says Pukekura.
Iwi, Kaupapa Māori Providers, Te Pare ō Toi and our DHB and Toi te Ora Covid Response teams will continue to work together to focus on protecting whānau by focusing on vaccination, community care and whānau planning.