Waatea News Column: Māori are paying a second price of Citizenship over COVID – make this one count!


Sir Apirana Ngata published the original ‘The Price of Citizenship’ in 1943 and argued that Māori support of the war was the best way to honour the Treaty and gain equality and respect.

This Price of Citizenship demanded justice.

It seems to me that once again Māori are sacrificing and paying a second price of citizenship over the politics behind the low vaccination rates.

Academics & Public Health officials were clear that Māori should have been vaccinated first but that position would have seen a political eruption and backlash from non-Māori that would have been weaponized by the Right.

If a Maori first policy had been implemented, there would have been a chilling impact on race relations from the high levels of Pākehā transmission and death rate. Extremists would have managed to manipulate the worst of those angers in a terrible way.

While you should never allow what Mike Hosking thinks to dictate social policy, you don’t have to give him ammunition either.

Most young Māori have only just become eligible to get vaccinated and where mobile outreach is occurring it is working.

There has been remarkable uptake by Māori over the last 5 weeks, which should be celebrated.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

By putting the rest of NZ first, Māori have paid a second price of citizenship which obligates the state to provide funding for an independent Māori Health Authority.

It’s the least New Zealand can do.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. ‘independent Maori health authority’ needs to be set up because Maori didn’t rush/refused to get vaccinated?
    Extra hundreds of millions supplied/given by the govt to target them specifically to get vaccinated and still it’s not enough….what makes you think a separate health system would have worked.
    Seems Maori are not unlike a toddler, unable to do anything for themselves without extra funding, that the other 85% of the population understand and essentially comply with….but it seems hand holding and extra ‘treats’ are needed for Maori at every turn.
    NZ’s are all for inclusiveness Martyn but all the Covid information is out there for everyone to see and digest, why the need for hand holding?

    • IR, it’s about rebuilding trust, trust that was sparse to begin with and repeatedly destroyed every generation since. It’s about honoring the health and wellbeing of Maori as valued citizens. It’s about healing. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

      • Hmmm playing the man not the ball Garibaldi?…care to explain why I’m wrong or is it the old ‘racist’ ‘colonialism’ laden reply/excuse for you too?

        • 1.Māori age-sex-standardised rates of hospitalisation for mental disorder were 80% higher than those of non-Māori.

          2.Māori were less likely than non-Māori to be hospitalised for depressive,
          personality and eating disorders, but over 3.5 times more likely for schizophrenia
          and 2.4 times more likely to be hospitalised for bipolar disorder.

          Probably why hand holding is needed and a separate Maori Health Authority.

          People just need to be educated or treated like a toddler if they can’t be.

    • Completely agree. Why is it that those speaking on behalf of Maori constantly remind us that other Maori cannot read or write or comprehend simple messages like do not smoke do not overeat does not consume too much alcohol GET A VACCINE.
      I have worked with many Maori and always found them intelligent and able to follow instructions so why are the leaders try to make out different and play the blame game to exonerate those not getting vaccinated

    • Lol. The reverse will be true. More NZers are looking at property in Queensland than ever before. It will be a white, trade-based drain this time.

      With the 2032 Olympics there will be significant opportunities for trade-based NZers for the next decade.

  2. We have been leading the horse to the water. Now you want us to make it drink. Good Luck. I think the problem is that this govt is too nice sometimes.

  3. Not sure I agree that non-Maori would have spat the dummy if Maori received vaccine priority and I think you could be making a misleading assumption there.

    I think anyone (left or right) would have agreed that the first to be vaccinated should be high risk groups. And If a certain demographic was deemed high risk then no one I know would begrudge them getting priority. I mean, no one cared that the elderly or immune compromised were first in the queue so what makes you believe that Maori and just as important Pacifica would have been included? I think it was obvious from the outset (with so many cases in South Auckland and let’s face the higher propensity of people overweight from that area) that in fact South Auckland, regardless of racial profile should have been at the front line of the vaccination campaign.

    For example I delayed my vaccination for that exact reason. I deemed myself at very low risk, and simply thought there should many more folk ahead of me that I could wait. Double jabbed as of yesterday.

    So sorry Martyn, respectfully disagree that there would have been a major outcry if Maori (or any other at risk group) got priority. Notwithstanding that politically South Auckland is a Labour stronghold, shouldn’t they then at least try to look after those who’ve supported them for the last 40 years?

    • South Auckland did have a “soft” prioritisation over the rest of the country. People in the Counties- Manukau DHB area who were over 65 or had underlying health conditions were placed into group 2 of the rollout. Across the country, older Maori and Pacific and those who cared for them were also placed into group 2. Group 3 included the overweight and those requiring medication for high blood pressure, though I guess this only applied if it was recorded on your medical record.

      • Correct, however once it became apparent that it seemed that Southern Auckland tended to be the epicentre of each outbreak, it seemed obvious that was where vaccine ground zero should have been. A fit 65 year old in Haast may have to have waited for their jab over a 35 year old diabetic with a BMI of 30 in Mangere. Especially if a family member was working in and around MIQ.

  4. Well JT out West Ak is on to it.

    He’s sending out his teams door to door. Knocking on every door on every street, is the answer.

    Just like an Army clearing an area. Door by door, street by street, town by town….

  5. I see your points Martyn. The issues are clear to educated people of average or better intelligence who have done some research.
    For example Caucasian New Zealanders over 65 are 22% of the population whilst Maori over 65 is 7%. The median age is 44 years and 26 years respectively.

    Group 4 in the rollout, 12 to 64 age group have been eligible for the vaccine only since September 1.

    In addition, general demoralisation resulting from the downstream effects of colonisation leading to mistrust of authorities, poverty and disconnection.

    On top of that we have misinformation and the ineptness of DHBs.

    When people start talking about “special treatment”, I suggest this is what is needed to recover from special mistreatment.

  6. I’m sorry Martyn, but why is it that such large groups of Maori are apparently unable to think for themselves and get vaccinated like everyone else has? This question is further complicated by the fact that the older generations of Maori are vaccinated to a very high rate across the country.

    It’s no one else fault or responsibility other than those choosing to not get vaccinated. There are so many places and opportunities to do so – hiding behind the idea that it’s because they’ve not had access is avoiding the issue and frankly infantilizes people.

    I’m happy either way, if anyone wants to get vaccinated or not – that’s their choice but with that they need to take responsibility for their actions and that’s where this all falls down. As sure as night follows day the only outcome will be howls of systemic racism and colonialism murdering those that die who haven’t got jabbed.

    It’s on them and it’s on Labour for both failing to get the vaccinations here quickly, not planning at all until the very last minute, not having a clue about opening up again and then driving a disgraceful agenda to divide us as a community by pitching us against one another.

    This festering situation, created and fed by Labour’s consistent inability to deliver anything other than failure is reaching boiling point in Auckland. There is a level of rage and open hostility that I have never seen in NZ in over 25 years. Unless they let us out and cop the consequences, we are running the risk of terrifying social breakdown and a societal split along racial lines.

    Besides, if the vaccines work why do I need to be worried about those that aren’t?

    • You should keep that vigor. I mean, if you think a racial index is a confounder, if anything that would favore the unvaccinated since thats during delta prevelence, which is much more infectious.

      Correcting for this would result in even more favorable vaccination results. 🙂

  7. Interviewed by the press in August 1962 after addressing the Kaikohe Rotary Club, Dr Paewai the well-known Maori leader and chairman of the Kaikohe and District Advice and Guidance Council suggested that the Maori were their own worst enemies. Problems facing the Maori people were mostly a result of the Welfare State, the segregation caused by the continuance of Maori schools and multitudinous handouts.
    He added, that Maori had reached a stage in their development when spoon feeding should cease. The Maori had caught up with the pakeha and should be taught, as the Pakeha had already learned, but one must live by one’s own efforts.
    “We must cease these handouts and that is where I am afraid the Maori Education Foundation might fall down,” he said. He added, the Maori are so used to accepting assistance that they are continually looking for it. They must be taught, like the Pakeha has already learned, that he must work for what he gets.
    He said he knew of Maori families living in the countryside around Kaikohe who refuse to take advantage of the free dental treatment for their children “because they have to pay bus fares”.
    “This is all wrong and has arisen because we have given the Maori cause to expect everything for nothing. I agree with the idea that Maori living standards need raising but there must be other more desirable methods than free handouts and an education foundation”
    Dr Paewai said he did not think that the Maori Education Foundation would work as it would be very difficult to administer. “If it is to be for the Maori people only, then we are buying nothing but trouble,” he added. As yet there has been no definite policy or plan outlined for the administration of the foundation.
    “Apart from the land problem of the Maori people – and this is a terrific one – there is no Maori problem until we start making one; until we stop making excuses for the Maori; until we start letting him off this and that and giving him the opportunity of taking advantage of the present social standards and system” Dr Paewai concluded.

    • 59 years ago! Thankfully more of us are more educated now to make better informed comments and not tarnish an entire culture with the same brush. We are kiwis, all of us. As a nation we are as strong together, as we put up all barriers possible against covid, as our weakest links. Be a strong link, not a weak one. To everything possible to plug the holes in our covid response, and stop poking new ones. Be responsible everyone. Hold your mana

      • If we’re strong together why does it feel like labour are doing everything they can to drive us apart into ever decreasing race based identity driven mental ghettos?

  8. Hmmm I think the issue is that for what ever reason some people, Maori and others don’t want to get vaccinated. It is pretty much open for anybody now to get vaccinated in drop in centers, they are not being deprived of vaccinations.

    This is the type of story that turns people off, as most people know that the government are desperate to vaccinate everyone ASAP, not somehow holding out on Maori on this.

  9. Yeah na. Mixed race here and na na na.

    I’m not on board kuapapa trickle down.

    Whanau ora already subcontracts dozens and dozens of gp clinics to destiny church where people like my father were told they were seeing doctors but we’re actually seeing nurses for a year and my dad’s been really sick. The ammount money destiny church claws out of the govt and there’s so little oversight. It’s insane.

    It’s actually hysterical that we’ve got destiny church running so many gps in lowest socio economic and we wonder why vax rates are so low with the poor because destiny church and outfits like them run these so called “by Maori for Maori” initiatives which are neoliberal top down agencies but they get nothing but praise in the days of wokedome.

    Does John Key speak for all Pakeha? No then why does everyone think millionaire Maori speak for poor Maori? They don’t.

    Fix the current system get more Maori in from poor backgrounds not more rich Maori voices who don’t give a damn about poor people. Change has to come from bottom up not top down.

    Look what rich Maori have done to the fisheries. Slave labour boats. Rich Maori are just as greedy as rich white people.

    • Exactly – greed is not race based, neither is stupidity and allowing this to happen in Maori name.

      Then you get someone who seems to be wanting to do something real like Mike King, and he doesn’t get the funding because they actually want to give the Maori money to Maori who spend it on themselves and not helping Maori.

      You don’t even need to be Maori now to speak for Maori, aka Harry Tam. Two ticks, one for Maori and one for Diversity, and a huge self promoter and checkered past.

      Cultural fit with the neoliberalism and MSM and government and woke which is why he is so popular on government committees and gets the funding and exemptions!

  10. It appears a few here, believe we are all born equal, we all grow up equal, we all have equal opportunity, we are all genetically the same, we all have the exact same cognitive ability. However the socioeconomic outcomes show this to be flawed logic..


    It is one of the easiest things to do, by marginalising the, “everyone has equal opportunity” mantra. It seems like a few still like to kick those, through no fault of their own, while their down. So much for inclusiveness.

  11. This article is just bullshit. Maori have had as much chance as everyone else to get vaccinated early. When I was down at the vaccination station for my two vacs on separate occasions earlier on this year, there were plenty of maori there for the jab.

    This article is just a reverse racism rant.

  12. I personally don’t have an issue with Maori being elected as the first group to be vaccinated. If it had worked out that way, I don’t see why there would have been any protests or eruption from non-Maori over that decision and subsequent implementation.

    What I see as the issue is Maori and non-Maori being referred to as two distinct groups. That is not the case in this country. These two ethnicities intermarried so well that they put arguably racist countries at the time, such as Australia and the UK, to shame.
    and in recent decades, while mass immigration from countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jamaica, etc, to the United Kingdom, has further entrenched an already established class system based on money, social status, and race, the mass migration to New Zealand from foreign countries has been successful.

  13. Maybe actually instead of the stupid Cat 1 – 4 they should have just ordered more vaccines to be delivered earlier then July 28th to start vaccinating in earnest and rather then getting people to get their first jabs we would be giving out booster shots by now. Which funnily enough we should do for anyone vaccinated in Jan – April.
    Question: do we have enough doses in the country to finish the job for the first timers and the boosters? Or is that for next year and a different variant.

  14. It’s easy for the privileged to sneer at the others. I consider myself privileged because most of my life doors have opened for me. However I can understand how non-privileged people would feel demoralised, apathetic and untrusting.

    There is an obvious lack of empathy in some of these posts. Perhaps it is based on ignorance or else that part of the brain simply isn’t working.

  15. Depends on your definition of privileged.
    In my experience people from the same street same school same socioeconomic status and some succeeded others didn’t.
    Where’s the privilege here?

  16. what about my sacrifice as a pasty cis-gendered male victim of norman oppression (1066 still rankles with some of us) in getting fully vaccinated
    ..ohhh how brave was I actually utilizing my limited brain cells to do the right thing….

    excuses are over get it done or be a dick.

  17. Have I missed something. I dont understand the numbers on this issue and where the problem lies. Older people are more at risk of death from covid. 22% non-maori are over 65 while only 8% of maori are over 65. Demographically maori have an overall younger population which is why a larger proportion of maori were not in line for the early shots. Maori have lowest vaccination rates because they are the lowest age group but maori as lowest age demographic had lowest risk from covid. Never the less I am yet to hear of anyone of any age or race being turned away from a vaccination center. The vaccination roll out is rightly age base not race base. If maori uptake of vaccination is slower than for other groups dont blame Jacinda or pakeha or DHBs look to maori leaders like Brian Tamaki and Billy Te Kahika.

    • It’s not just about deaths. It’s about not overloading the health system as well.

      Hospitalisations are 27% Maori, 48% Pacific peoples, 18% European.

      Also, people with a shorter lifespan have aged earlier so they fall into the higher risk category.

      What we learned from the flu epidemic of 1918 was that Maori deaths were 42.3 per 1000 and European were 5.5 per 1000.

      I don’t think the slower vax rate is due to people listening to Brian T and Billy TK. It’s far more complex.


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