Te Puni Kōkiri advice and policy

Last updated: Monday, 14 August 2023 | Rāhina, 14 Hereturikōkā, 2023

Supporting whole-of-government decision making

Our strong connections across the motu meant we could provide valuable real-time, on-the-ground insights to central government decision-makers about COVID-19 challenges facing whānau.

Key issues included technological inequalities and challenges for communities during self-isolation periods, with limited access to broadband and devices for schooling and government services.

We built on existing relationships with the National Emergency Management Agency to position iwi partnerships within the ongoing recovery plans.

Te Puni Kōkiri provided strategic insight and support to ensure core public health messages and stories were targeted effectively for Māori, including delivery in a te ao Māori context and in te reo Māori.

In 2021, the Māori COVID-19 information campaign, Karawhiua, was established at Te Puni Kōkiri, in partnership with the Iwi Coms Collective, Te Hiringa Hauora, Unite Against COVID team and Manatū Hauora, and supported by hauora providers, Iwi community leaders and others.

Our strong regional networks supported speedy allocation of Government funding packages to support communities as they mobilised to address local needs in a practical way. This included funding for Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, community outreach and support and needs assessment and specialist advice to Māori businesses.

Supporting whānau and community

Te Puni Kōkiri was on the ground supporting iwi, hapū, whānau, marae and Māori organisations to meet their own solutions and be actively involved in the COVID-19 response.

We activated our strong community networks to link iwi and non-government Māori organisations with other agencies, to deliver immediate support to whānau in need, and to strengthen the overall emergency response system at the local level.

At the same time, we worked with kaitono and community groups to reposition existing contracts and allocate new funding to meet emerging needs.

The Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund was established to mobilise and provide urgent funding support for rapid vaccination activities, to build resilience of vulnerable Māori communities and help hapori Māori to manage the impact of COVID-19. Commissioning providers with in-depth knowledge of the unique need within their communities to provide wraparound support needed, was the best approach to lift Māori vaccination rates.

Since it was established, the Māori first dose vaccination rate increased from 69% to 91% and the second dose rate from 49% to 88%.

Supporting businesses and employment

Māori economic resilience is at the forefront of our mahi at Te Puni Kōkiri. We led a data and analytics programme which will be used by government and non-government agencies to develop a work programme to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on Māori, and to create new opportunities.

Funding provided through Te Puni Kōkiri allowed Māori businesses to access information, support and specialist advice including specific research on the impacts on businesses based on whenua Māori.

The initial response period during Alert Levels 3 and 4 also provided some effective examples of innovation to help businesses reposition themselves and use technology to reach customers in new ways, such as Hokohoko, an online Māori mall, created by Te Rōpū Pakihi, the Kāpiti-Horowhenua Māori business network.