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He Pou Whirinaki (pillars of support). Elder indigenous New Zealand Māori narratives about influenza immunisation and the use of telehealth during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

This paper describes issues, strengths and challenges experienced by elderly Māori accessing influenza vaccination, during the first Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. We also obtained views about the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, and the social restrictions of lockdown. A sampling frame of four Māori elders speaking on behalf of themselves and their communities in Northland was recruited from health sector network connections and interviews were undertaken and recorded. The rich narratives highlighted an awareness of the generational impact of illness and vaccination and concern about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations. Despite initial fear about COVID-19, communities described ‘safety and comfort’ from ‘lockdown’ creating community resilience and marae, hapu and iwi making major contributions to local crisis response. The well-developed views of these Māori kaumātua about influenza, vaccination and COVID-19 occurred within an environment of contrasting health beliefs and trust/distrust about government and Pākehā-led health services. There was support for the style and content of local health services and recognition and that Pākehā-led health services can be effective when complemented by traditional Māori health values approaches and beliefs. We also noted that the lockdown provided opportunities for these elders to adapt to new technology within a health context.

Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online
Dowell A, Turner N, Watson D, Wharemate R, Willing E and Nowlan M
08 June 2022
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Type of Research 
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Publication Date 
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Last updated: Jun 2022