ACC has launched a new campaign Kia Mahea Kia Puawai - Making It Clear So We Can Flourish.
It is a by-Māori, for-Māori strategy created to disseminate useful knowledge about the resources and support accessible to whānau when they are injured.
According to the ACC, Māori are 2.5 times more likely to sustain a serious injury but 25 per cent less likely to claim ACC compensation for it.
In 2019, a research insight showed that half of New Zealanders and almost 60 percent of Māori had low awareness of ACC’s role and services.
Touch rugby referee Tina Koni (Ngāpuhi) who suffered a serious injury back in 2016, says “she didn’t want to be a hōhā” and didn’t receive any care until her aunt convinced her to go see a doctor, who then told her she needed surgery.
After finally putting in an ACC claim she felt relieved about the support offered to her financially for her recovery, getting check-ups at the doctors and to continue paying off her home.
ACC tumu pae ora Michelle Murray (Whakatōhea, Tūhoe) says ACC wants every New Zealander to have access to support should a serious injury happen.
Reaching the hōhā, the shy and the rural
“We have set the stage for increased trust and meaningful change for Māori. That work is already well underway, with quite a few initiatives to improve our access.”
Some of the barriers to ACC for Māori included knowing about the different support types, the severity of their injury, previous poor experiences of healthcare and more, Murray says.
“We need to build trust and partner with our whānau, and we’re doing that in various ways.”
Koni says everyone who is in similar situations as she was in, to get in touch with ACC and ask for help.
“I know a lot of Māori, especially up north. They’ve had injuries and they’re too hōhā or shy, or they live in such a rural area that they can’t get access to a hospital or doctors or ACC.
“Just try and find that link to ACC, they’re there to help.”