90% First dose coverage for Auckland DSS users


Published 15 December 2021


Taikura Trust’s Tiaki COVID-19 initiative in partnership with the Northern Regional Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC), whānau ora and well-trusted community mobilisers in Auckland have been working round the clock to break down barriers for people to access the vaccine. More than 9000 DSS users in Auckland aged 12 and above are initially eligible to receive the vaccine so they can be protected from COVID-19.

Barry de Geest, chair of the Trust’s operational entity, said it takes a village to achieve this result. “This is what happens when local providers and regional agencies rally together to support some of the hardest to reach members in our community. The one size fits all thinking does not work. We actually saved lives by taking time to use a personalised approach in supporting people to get the vaccine,” said Barry.

Over the past months Tiaki has made hundreds of calls to disabled people to check if they need support to make a decision about getting the vaccine or to access it. Conversations revealed that disabled people share the same challenges as the general public like vaccine hesitation and navigating through social media channels rife with misinformation.

Recently, Tiaki launched a concentrated vaccination outreach effort due to concerns that the hardest to reach people living in New Zealand's most COVID-19 prone area would not get the right support to access the vaccines: disabled Māori and Pasifika in South Auckland.

With the support of NRHCC, Tiaki found that around 1,500 disabled Māori and Pasifika in South Auckland may have needed vaccination support. Conversations with whānau revealed that many wanted to get the vaccine but couldn’t leave the house, didn’t know how to manage their loved ones’ fear of needles or other behavioural challenges that may arise.

“We really use a wraparound approach,” Barry said. “We ask them if they’re still getting their disability supports or respite, if they’re getting food and other essentials. We connect them with our partners or find out who can help them in their community. Then we ask them if they need information about the vaccine or want us to organise in-home vaccination.” To date Tiaki has supported more than 100 disabled people and their whānau to be vaccinated in the comfort of their home.

Tiaki recently partnered with Southseas, Te Roopu Waiora and Tofa Mamao Collective to deliver a special COVID-19 vaccination drive to support the Pasifika and Māori disabled community. The event at Otara was designed to be a safe and welcoming place for individuals. 

“The solution is meeting the needs of disabled people and their whānau by talking to them one by one, respecting where they’re coming from and partnering with our community.”

It’s a model Barry hopes can be replicated for the vaccine rollout for disabled tamaraki aged 5 to 11 years, many of whom have sensory challenges.



About Taikura Trust

Taikura Trust has high levels of trust and satisfaction among its clients and believes working directly with individuals, whānau by whānau, aiga by aiga, person by person, is the key to success. In 2020, their COVID-19 outreach campaign reached thousands of households across Auckland.

Taikura Trust also strongly supported vaccination uptake across the organisation, with 98% of people-facing employees fully vaccinated. With the majority of its employees turning to vaccination, they are able to protect themselves, their families and the people they support- many of which are medically fragile- from the risk of transmitting the virus.


Media enquiries

Louella Reid, Communications specialist, Taikura Trust, 027 5558910, louella.reid@taikura.org.nz