Kevin Hague is a Civil Defence Emergency Management Incident Controller for Te Tai o Poutini (the West Coast), where he lives. He has considerable experience in the health and wellbeing sector, and particular expertise in public health and health promotion. He is an experienced leader in the public, private and community sectors and is currently the Chair of the Public Health Advisory Committee, the West Coast PHO, Takiwā Poutini (the West Coast Locality) and Deputy Chair of Te Hiringa Mahara (the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission). He was an MP for eight years and is a former chief executive of the West Coast DHB, Forest and Bird and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. He also has a background in the antiracism movement.
Racial justice & emergency responses
State-led responses to emergencies, disasters and/or public health emergencies (whether they are naturally-triggered or human-induced) have often failed to serve Indigenous and racialised communities. In Aotearoa, during the 1918 influenza pandemic, we lost seven times more Māori than non-Māori lives due to racism within the state-led response. Inaction or inadequate action in the domain of emergency responses cost lives in the case of COVID-19 and breached te Tiriti o Waitangi (see Haumaru Waitangi Tribunal report).
Through COVID-19, the Kaikoura earthquakes and Cyclone Gabrielle, we have seen robust Māori-led responses. Pacific and other Indigenous and racialised communities are also stepping into the void. This leadership has been successful when state-led responses have been slow and insufficient. In the context of an increasing climate emergency, the panel discuss how can racial justice has been embedded into emergency responses so no-one gets left behind.