Tū Pakari, Tū Taha | Stand Strong, Stand Beside

21 February 2022

Introducing a new video series about the structural discrimination faced by Tangata Whaiora and their inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Tū Pakari, Tū Taha is a series of videos addressing the structural discrimination faced by Tangata Whaiora and their inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations. Their vaccination rates are well below those of the general population.

Tū Pakari, Tū Taha is the Nōku te Ao programme contribution to the Vaccine Inequity conversation, by promoting Tangata Whaiora points of view, their personal experiences, and choices, that guided their decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The series features interviews with nine Tangata Whaiora:

Wiremu (Bill) Werehiko, Kelly Orupe, Ngātikarika Ahiao, Kiriana Kauwhata, Isobel Knuth, Wi Te Tau Huata, Chloe Fergusson-Tibble, Tui Taurua and Laurence ‘Laurie’ Jenner. We are grateful for their willingness to share their experiences.

Introducing Laurie Jenner

Lawrence ‘Lawrie’ Jenner is a tane of Ngāti Manawa and Te Arawa descent, born and bred in the Bay of Plenty area Murupara. He is the fifth sibling of five brothers and one sister, the proud father of two sons and two daughters, and a koro of many.

His dedication to his community is strong - evidenced by 12 years spent working as an ambulance officer, 34 years as a firefighter, and as a volunteer to local boards, sports and recreational services. Lawrie has also been a primary school teacher, a community mental health support worker, a security guard, and assisted in the reintegration of prisoners released from jail back into society.

He has been honoured with a Queen’s Service Medal, Year of the Volunteers Medal, and a Community Gold Star for his service to voluntary work.
Lawrie enjoys new experiences, adventures and meeting new people. His ambition remains to continue his journey in supporting his people.

In his video, he speaks about the fear that tāngata whaiora felt regarding what might happen if they didn’t comply with taking the COVID-19 vaccine. He explains that this mounting pressure led to a spiritual battle for his people, and that he experienced his own battle after taking the vaccine due to his own health issues.

Ko aku whakahere taku koha ki te katoa.

He uri ahau no te ao.
Ko te awa ko au Ko au te awa.
Tihei mauri ora.

Impact of the pandemic

In this 4th video in the series, Whaea Isabel, Matua Bill, Kiriana, Kelly and Ngā talk about the impact of the pandemic and how they made their decision about whether to take the vaccine.

Introducing Tui Taurua

Tui Taurua is a Ngāpuhi wahine with whakapapa to Waitangi. Her introduction to the mental health system started in 1977, following her hospitalisation. Tui's mahi in the mental health sector began in 1995, when she started as a community support worker and dedicated her path to ensuring the voice of people with lived experience is heard. She has been involved in supporting tāngata whaiora for over 25 years in various ways. Today, she is on national boards, and runs an indigenous tāngata whaiora programme which teaches self-recovery and Māori models of practice to kaitiaki and whānau. Tui is also recognised as one of Aotearoa's 100 Māori Leaders.

In her video, she talks about balancing her decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine with her values - acknowledging the impacts of colonisation and how that has underpinned her distrust in the Government.

"In those early years, I had no idea that the Māori part of me was missing," she says. "Today, I understand Te Tiriti o Waitangi and what this means for Māori. My goal is to amplify this document to determine our future."

Introducing Chloe Fergusson-Tibble

Chloe Fergusson-Tibble comes from Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa. She is a māmā to two school-aged children, and wife to Kahurangi Fergusson-Tibble (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga ā Mahaki and Ngāti Uenukukopako).

Chloe worked as a consumer leader in the Tairāwhiti (Gisborne) mental health and addictions sector for a number of years. She was then inspired by psychiatrist Dr Diana Kopua to pursue studying medicine, in order to improve health outcomes for Māori. Chloe also studied te reo Māori, as she believes that reinstating mātauranga Māori in systems will also contribute to this improvement.

In this video, Chloe shares her rich kōrero about the inequity of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out across Aotearoa for tāngata whenua. She also talks about looking to whānau, community, and other trusted sources for information when making a decision about taking the vaccine:

"If you're going to ask me... Do I know every single part of every bit of research about the vaccine? No, I don't. Do I need to? No... Because I trust our Māori doctors."

Introducing Wi Te Tau Huata

Wi Te Tau Huata began his journey through different institutions and from the early days of ANOPS (Aotearoa Network of Psych Survivors) and continues to advocate for lived experience people today. He says his passion is to help others to reclaim their mana motuhake.

He referred to an interview on Māori Television’s Te Ao with Moana with Tame Iti. “I liked what she said ‘it’s about choice’.”

“It’s up to you, for me I wouldn’t have a job if I didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccination. You have to weigh it up for yourself. I am not saying that you should or shouldn’t what are your circumstances. Does it limit you if, you do? Or don’t? To me that is, especially for whānau whaiora, they don’t often get a choice.”

Wi Te Tau says his beliefs in karakia, pono, tika, aroha, and ngākau māhaki allows him to honour his tīpuna. These beliefs also help him in his role as advocate on behalf of whānau Māori who have accessed mental health services, whether willingly or under the Mental Health Act.

He mentors and supports whānau Māori to recover from their distress or trauma and reach their full potential. He said his greatest role is being a great Dad to his children, and Koro to his grandchildren, and ensuring they have all the love and support they need.

Wi Te Tau said: “It’s not an easy choice, as it’s all a part of your recovery – the truth we speak, and the treatment we received. The more you talk about it the easier it gets. Don’t lock it away and be okay with it. Talk to the people you trust.”

Tū Pakari, Tū Taha Background

Given the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic, and their larger burden of risk, Nōku te Ao is supporting with Tangata Whaiora with this issue. Through Tū Pakari, Tū Taha, we advocate for resolving barriers to access and discrimination in the health system, so that whānau can feel confident in making choices around the COVID-19 vaccination.

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified inequities across the globe.

Te Hiringa Hauora has joined a Global Call to Action, led by Equally Well, to address vaccine inequity for tāngata whai ora. In developing Tū Pakari, Tū Taha, the Nōku te Ao programme team has worked with Equally Well and the Ministry of Health to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Tangata Whaiora.

Tangata Whaiora aged 12 years and older in Aotearoa are over three times more likely to be under-represented in vaccine uptake compared to the general population. Tangata Whaiora are also more likely to get COVID-19 and experience more severe symptoms. The vaccination roll-out has left people with mental health and addiction challenges behind.