Amplifying the Māori COVID-19 response with Karawhiua

Total Impressions
Users to Website
Māori vaccinated


Aro Digital was contracted to lead the digital Karawhiua campaign developed by Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Hiringa Hauora. The campaign was aimed at increasing awareness and uptake of the Covid-19 vaccination, specifically among Māori.

Although the Unite Against Covid campaign did a fantastic job at a centralised Covid-19 response, it was identified that a campaign that speaks to Māori was required for vaccination mobilisation for Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand.

There were a number of constraints, most notably walking a fine line between education and encouragement for getting a Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine rollout timing was also uncertain, so considerations had to be made surrounding how to best promote messages within the uncertainty.


This campaign aimed to have an impact by:

1. Reducing vaccine hesitancy for Māori

2. Encouraging whānau conversations about Covid-19 vaccines

3. Reach 500k vaccinated Māori


Our Digital Strategy

A fast and effective digital strategy was required, with a website, marketing plan and campaign response, needed to be completed and rolled out within 6 weeks.

We assisted with the content of the website, and how this fed through to a campaign approach. We implemented an effective process between Te Hiringa Hauora & Te Puni Kōkiri to streamline the production & approval of the website content, design, and all marketing collateral. 

There were two phases to the campaign:

1. Confidence and Understanding
Providing balanced information around Covid-19, to encourage conversations within whānau, and build confidence in the vaccine.

2. Ensure and Mobilise
To provide information on where and when they could get a vaccination. By sending people to the Karawhiua mapping function we were able to connect users with the booking information of their nearest clinic.

Creating Social Ads

Aro was responsible for the development of social and display ads, promoting these and additional video content across paid Facebook and Instagram campaigns. 

We tested a number of approaches, including:

1. "Find Your Nearest Vaccine Station"

Different images and text for each region, encouraging people to find their nearest vaccine centre.

Screenshot of facebook ads, "find your local vaccination centre"r

2. "Why I’m Getting the Vaccine"

Quotes from people about how the vaccine was helping protect their whānau.

Screenshot of Facebook ads, "why i'm getting the vaccine" quotes from people

3. "How You Can Protect Whānau"

Simple steps people could take to protect those around them.

Screenshot of a facebook carousel ad, "how you can protect your whānau".

4. "Frequently Asked Covid Questions"

Clear and concise answers to key questions surrounding the Covid vaccine.

Screenshot of Facebook Ads, addressing "frequently asked questions"

Once live, we tested which ad approaches generated the best results in line with our objectives. To optimise the budget, we increased spend on the best performers, and reduced spend on the stragglers.

Our Karawhiua Search Strategy

Our search strategy started with planning the ideal structure for the website. By creating regional pages that featured clinics within that region, we were able to simplify the user journey. Searchers could now find the location, open hours and booking process of each clinic.

The regional website pages proved successful across Organic and Paid Search - two key pillars of our strategy.

We then focussed on action orientated searches - for example: “Vaccine station near me” or “Northland Covid vaccine”.

Screenshot of Google Ad, "vaccination centres near me"

Reaching our Ideal Audience

To define our audience strategy we researched the uptake of the vaccine by Māori across NZ. This helped us identify the priority regions and ages our budget should be split between.

These splits were regularly updated, and influenced our campaign structure, as well as the types of ads we were serving. We wanted to ensure the imagery and language resonated with their respective regions and ages.

Reporting on Successful Digital Campaigns

To report on vaccination turnout by Māori, we created a custom dashboard from Ministry of Health Data. This enabled stakeholders to filter for different regions, ethnicities, and age ranges to explore vaccine uptake across New Zealand.

Screenshot of an Aro made dashboard, using ministry of health data to track vaccination rates over ethnicities and ages.

This tool became a key pillar of the ongoing management of this campaign - enabling unique insights, and simplifying the stakeholder reporting process.

Website and marketing performance was also reported on through our dashboards. Enabling conversations around ad, audience, content and conversion performance.

We measured success through a few key metrics:

  • Impressions and video watches (view % rate) )
  • Website users
  • Highly engaged users (Phone calls, emails, booking button clicks)
  • Uptake of the vaccine

So far, we’ve had over 200,000 users land on the website, and seen vaccine rates increase from 40% up to 73%.


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