Bay of Plenty DHB Covid-19 pamphlet: Apology for ‘offensive material’ use

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Bay of Plenty health officials have apologised for a Covid-19 pamphlet depicting a cartoon virus being kicked and stabbed by a mataora.

Disease cell of Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak and coronaviruses influenza background, infectious virus. SARS, 3D render

The brochure urged people to get rid of Covid-19.

Mataora, or full-face moko, was depicted in images of the virus, with some being kicked by a man in gumboots and another being stabbed with a tewhatewha, or spear.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board and Te Rnanga Hauora Mori o Te Moana a Toi issued an apology in a joint statement for the inappropriate design.

DHB board chair Sharon Shea stated that it was created by a Mori artist and had gone through an approval process, but it was clear that it was insufficient.

“I saw the design last night. I was offended by it. It was wrong,” she said in a statement.

“On this occasion, we have failed our Māori community, and we apologise. It’s not good enough.”

Shea said she had asked the chief executive, Pete Chandler, to start a review of the protocols and approval process in place.

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“We are working with our Te Tiriti governance partner, Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o Te Moana a Toi, and this is a matter of urgency.”

She said this was an “unwanted distraction” from wanting to deliver as many vaccines as possible.

Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o Te Moana a Toi chair Linda Steel said she fully backed the DHB chair and chief executive’s decision in removing the “totally offensive material” and starting a review.

“Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o Te Moana a Toi which consists of 17 iwi from Mai I Ngā Kuri a Whaarei ki Tihirau are beyond offended that the most sacred part of our tinana has been depicted in this manner and unreservedly apologise to all our whānau, hapu, iwi and hāpori communities.”

All of the pamphlets would be destroyed, and the design would not be used again.

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