Rationing Māori Life and Well-Being - Who Decides And How?

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith - IIRC20
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Aotearoa New Zealand has to date avoided the extreme consequences of COVID-19, which internationally has uncovered how health systems and societies differentially value people and groups. However inequality exists in NZ and many of these values and mechanisms still operate not only within our society and but also within our health system. We will investigate, expose and discuss the ethics of rationing health care in a racialised society - critiquing the use of prioritisation tools in medicine about who gets access to technology like ventilators and ICU.

By doing so it will highlight the health inequities that already exist but which would be exacerbated by COVID-19, and bring into the light issues of relevance to government, health professionals, researchers and communities across Aotearoa.

Māori draw on a history of survivance in a time of crisis and in this time of COVID-19. My talk reflects on what this says about Māori in terms of how we have mobilised our efforts during the lockdown under COVID-19. It also addresses the failure of the Treaty principle of partnership to be honoured and utilised during this crisis when the Government defaults to a mainstream, we know best, lack of trust relationship to Māori. This talk reflects on the lost opportunities to use Māori leadership, Māori health expertise and Māori service provision during the first weeks of lockdown. It ends with questions about what we need to consider and implement the next time.