COVID-19 impacts worse for Māori, Pasifika and disabled people, study finds


  • Māori and Pasifika found it harder to see a GP when they had COVID-19, mainly due to the difficulty of getting an appointment and cost: 43% of Māori and 36% of Pasifika had seen a GP, compared with 55% of Pākehā and other participants
  • disabled people were also more likely to report barriers to seeing a GP, either because they didn’t have transport or a caregiver or support person, or because they owed money to their health provider
  • Māori (13%) and Pasifika (14%) were more likely to report they were unable to afford a prescription medication since getting COVID-19, compared with 5% of other participants
  • levels of anxiety and depression among respondents were high: 75% of Pasifika and 62% of Māori reported anxiety or depression, compared with 56% of other participants
  • experience of anxiety or depression was much more likely to be reported among disabled people, indicating significant mental health needs for those with disabilities
  • financial concerns contributed to stress for many, with 57% of Māori and 40% of Pasifika reporting money worries, compared with 30% of other participants
  • since having COVID-19, 18% of Pasifika and 12% of Māori participants said their whanau was “doing worse”; in comparison, just 2% of other participants said their whanau was “doing worse”
  • Māori and Pasifika were also more likely to report needing ongoing support: 23% of Māori and 21% of Pasifika said they continued to need support since having COVID-19, compared with 16% of other participants.
  • ensure the ongoing COVID-19 response is based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and responds to the needs of Māori communities
  • significantly reduce barriers to primary health care, especially for Māori, Pasifika, and disabled people, to address inequities in health and well-being
  • provide a wider range of services to support whānau and families in the future and fund community organizations to deliver these services
  • develop a mental health plan to deal with the fallout from COVID-19 as well as future pandemics
  • revisit the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, particularly in relation to income support policies
  • reconsider sick leave and employment support policies to ensure that in future pandemics people can take time off work when unwell
  • develop a consumer-led Long COVID service, integrated with primary health care services.

About the study

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