The signatories to this statement gather for the 41st New Zealand Sexual Health Society Conference in Wellington — traditional lands of the peoples of Ngāti Toa and Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui. In September this year, organisations and participants attending the Australasian HIV & AIDS and Sexual Health Conferences 2019 in Perth – traditional lands of the Noongar Whadjuk peoples – signed their local version of the Aotearoa Statement called the Noongar Boodja Statement.
The Australasian signatories – peoples of Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Oceania including Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia –come together to share, collaborate and discuss the successes and challenges that lie ahead for the Australasian region in addressing STIs, viral hepatitis and HIV. A strong theme of these conferences are the persistent inequities in sexual health outcomes for the Indigenous Peoples of the Australasian nations.
Much work remains to be done by all to address disproportionate rates of STIs in Aotearoa New Zealand experienced by Māori. We confirm that these inequities are in contravention of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which all Australasian countries have endorsed.
Specifically, we commit to and call upon governments to appropriately fund and work with Māori communities, their community-based organisations and leaders to:
- Action the right of Māori peoples to co-design culturally responsive policies and strategies that match their sexual health priorities, knowledges and practices
- Support Māori communities to provide health promotion and harm reduction services, particularly to young Māori peoples
- Provide high quality low-cost testing and care, in primary health care programs for Māori peoples
- Sustain a culturally responsive and expert STI, HIV and blood-borne virus (BBV) health workforce in Māori communities
- Build our sector knowledge, research and statistical information in order to improve sexual health outcomes for Māori and reduce inequities.