New vaccination campaign targets Pacific Aotearoa

The health and safety of Pacific Aotearoa is the focus of a wide-reaching campaign being rolled out by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), the Ministry of Health, and Bright Sunday.

As part of the New Zealand Government’s response and Unite Against COVID-19 campaign, MPP has launched a complimentary campaign to increase reach of key messages around COVID-19 and receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and engagement with Pacific audiences.

Speaking at a community launch in Auckland on Sunday, Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said the aim of the campaign was to encourage Pacific communities to get vaccinated. 

“The goal is to shift mindsets of the Pacific audience who are contemplative or doubtful about information surrounding the vaccine, to be open to the solution of a vaccine to protect themselves, loved ones and all New Zealanders,” the Minister said.

“There are two main target audiences in mind, traditional Pacific – Pacific families who are conservative, by and large Pacific language speakers and strong in faith as well as cultural values, and Pacific young adults – New Zealand born and raised who are disengaged with the COVID-19 campaign.”

He said all other segments of the Pacific audience (English speakers) will be captured by the main Unite Against COVID-19 campaign.

Inspired by the Pacific concept of Malaga or Journey, the campaign explores how Pacific people are regarded as master navigators who travelled the Pacific Ocean.

“Our Pacific families have journeyed to Aotearoa and like their ancestors, the journey has had challenges,” the Minister said.

“The campaign reminds Pacific people the spirit that guided our ancestors and elders on their journey, is the same spirit calling for us to draw on faith and culture to act now and care for one another.”

A range of research was undertaken by the Ministry of Health to help develop the campaign, with key insights including how the wellbeing of the collective often takes precedence over individual preferences; and how public health messages are more effective when delivered through church or community organisations, making communications feel more relational and trust based.

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, MPP explored how messages communicated in Pacific peoples’ respective ethnic languages increased confidence and understanding for elders in the community, the Ministry said.

“The campaign is a collaboration with key community stakeholders and key messages will be delivered in a variety of ways, via Pacific radio networks, outdoor media, television, newspapers, and throughout church networks as well as across government agency platforms,” it said in a statement.