January 24, 2023
Care for Māori sparks white backlash
A Māori general practitioner says retiring Prime Minister Jacinda Arden showed she had the interests of Māori at heart in her response to Covid.
Matire Harwood, who works out of Papakura Marae, says lockdowns, border control and concerted efforted to reach vaccination targets helped prevent thousands of deaths, a disproportionate number of which would have been Māori and Pacific whānau from South Auckland.
She looked beyond the health impacts to allow Māori and other providers to step up during the lockdowns, ensuring low income whānau could get kai and other essential supplies.
That response was resented in some parts of society.
“Certainly I got lots of awful, nasty, racist , misogynist emails as a doctor who was also trying to support Māori whānau from white supremacy in that time, but not anything near the vitriolic emails she received,” Dr Harwood says.
While Covid levels are still high, she doesn’t expect any return to lockdowns and mandates.