Maori Responses to Covid-19


  • Sacha McMeeking
  • Catherine Savage



Mäori, strengths-based policy, self-determination, community pandemic response


Mäori infection rates from Covid-19 are perhaps the only example in Aotearoa New Zealand’s contemporary history where Mäori have achieved better social outcomes than non-Mäori. This remarkable, and unanticipated, outcome is potentially a golden precedent for policymakers if we can determine the critical factors that reversed embedded trends of disproportionate disadvantage. This article argues that, while the national lockdown and science-based approach were important enablers of these outcomes, the nationwide Mäori response to Covid-19 should also be recognised as critical. It describes the key components of the Mäori response to Covid-19 and argues that, in composite, the Mäori response demonstrates the value and positive impact of ‘strengths-based’ policy at scale, as well as providing insight into key policy settings that would enable the positive outcomes in respect of Covid-19 to be replicated across other important policy areas.


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