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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Waka Ora

Kahungunu Whanau Services (KWS) a kaupapa Māori organisation based in central Wellington, has launched “Waka Ora”, a mobile COVID-19 vaccination service. “Waka Ora” was launched during the first week of the recent Level 4 lockdown. This Māori led initiative has been set up to offer vaccination to Whānau who are experiencing homelessness in emergency and transitional housing. It aims to reach our most vulnerable communities, specifically Māori and Pasifika communities. “Waka Ora” is also available to the essential workforce in the city.

KWS, with the support from Tu Ora PHO, can now provide COVID-19 vaccine education to these communities in preparation for the rollout. KWS CEO Ali Hamlin-Paenga stated that “It is important that our people are well informed”. CEO Ali Hamlin-Paenga mentioned, “We must look at Māori led solutions that are accessible, safe, and delivered by familiar faces. A Māori response must be resourced well and given the space to be agile and not forced to deliver inside the square of the system. These communities know us and trust us as a service that delivers”.

Hamlin-Paenga describes their model of care as simple. “The service that will show up wherever you need us to be, in your home on your street, your marae at your local community centre. No appointment necessary and we will transport your bubble”.

This initiative is one of many Māori led vaccination centres currently being stood up in the wider Wellington region to increase the uptake of Māori and Pasifika. Hamlin-Paenga stated “Waka Ora” is a mobile resource available to local Iwi, Te Runanga o Te Atiawa, Ngati Toa Rangatira and all our partners so their workforce can deliver to their communities. Kaupapa Māori led COVID responses across the country are making a difference. We must not underestimate the impact these services have in communities delivering to all, not just Māori.


Waka Ora” is a community mobile service providing health and social services. “Waka Ora” is available within the Wellington region.