COVID contact tracing card trial

Te Arawa Covid Response hub kaumatua Monty Morrison and Minister for Government Digital Services Kris Faafoi. Photo Credit: Stephen Parker

The Te Arawa COVID-19 Response Hub has been busy since its inception in March when it was mobilised to keep Te Arawa whānau and the community safe.

The Hub has continued informing its Facebook audience as well as moving into the ‘recovery’ phase and providing support through their Workforce Hub, which helps people seek out mahi, develop new skills or access benefit entitlements.

After proving they have the capacity and capability to contribute to the health and wellbeing of their people, Te Arawa recognised that co-designing the COVID contact tracing card field trial in Ngongotahā was a way to contribute to vulnerable communities and wider Aotearoa.

Following an extensive stakeholder and community engagement exercise, the trial was deemed an overall success with 1250 volunteers signing up to wear the Bluetooth enabled card for the week-long trial to test human behaviour of the technology.

Ultimately the trial was about testing whether a contact tracing card could support our wider effort to stamp out COVID-19, and is part of a larger toolbox of technologies the government is exploring to enhance contact tracing.

Photo Credit: Stephen Parker

As part of the community engagement, a Whānau Day at Ngongotahā was hosted by the co-design partners (Te Arawa, Ministry of Health and the Universities of Otago and Waikato) to bring together the village residents, inform them of the kaupapa, encourage volunteers and most importantly, have fun!

Various health providers and local organisations jumped at the chance to come together and promote their services such as free dental checks and influenza immunisations.

Photo Credit: Stephen Parker

Rangatahi had a blast on the bouncy castle, having their faces painted and were given free train ride tickets for the Ngongotahā Railway Park. It was also apparent that the line for the ice cream truck was mostly adults!

Feedback from local residents was that they felt lucky they were able to gather for a vibrant community event, which is still not possible in many other parts of the world.

The Ngongotahā field trial is now complete and research will be undertaken as to whether the contact tracing card can enhance Aotearoa’s contact tracing technologies.