Pharmac appoints Whare PR

Māori communications firm Whare PR has been appointed to launch Pharmac’s Te Pataka Whaioranga type-2 diabetes medicines equity campaign.

The pioneering campaign, ‘You Are a Priority’, launched last month and runs until the end of October.

It addresses equitable access to vital diabetes medicines for Māori and Pacific peoples and is a first for Pharmac, not only in its use of different marketing channels to specifically target Māori and Pasifika audiences, but also indirectly addressing equity of access through policy.

This is an intentional, proactive move to address access to medicines for population groups who are at high risk of complications from type 2 diabetes.

Mortality rates for Māori with type 2 diabetes is seven times higher than non-Māori, and it is predicted that one in four Pacific peoples will have the disease within 20 years.

Pharmac Chief Advisor Māori, Trevor Simpson, says the latest data shows that over 36,000 people have had their applications for these medicines approved.

“What is really exciting is that nearly half of these applications were for people who are Māori or Pacific. We’ve never had uptake like this before – so the equity-based criteria is working.”

Whare PR CEO Bridgette Tapsell says Pharmac wanted an inclusive approach which fostered an empowering campaign process for all those working on the project.

“This has been an incredible and fulfilling opportunity to work on such a pioneering project, to make a difference. The campaign provides a model for future equity projects for other organisations throughout Aotearoa looking to make positive changes for our people.”

Four well-known and respected Māori and Pacific personalities who either live with type 2 diabetes or have whānau members living with the disease are spearheading the multi-channel three-month campaign, which includes Māori television, national newspapers, posters, digital ads, public relations and social media.

Bay of Plenty-based kaumātua Phil Merritt, rugby league star Adam Blair, founder of Kura Kai Makaia Carr, and playwright, journalist and film-maker Aroha Awarau encourage whānau to visit their doctor in the campaign. 

Whare PR is one of the original kaupapa Māori full-service agencies. Having launched three years ago, the agency now proudly has eight consultants and is growing fast.


Bridgette Tapsell:               Director, Whare PR

Bridget Ngawhare:             Account Manager, Whare PR

Rangi Ahipene:                   Kaiārahi, Whare PR

Kim Jackson                       Designer

Kate Mitchell-Roggeveen  Media R Spitfire 

Videographer:                     Paul Reade, Pilot Films

Photographer:                     Wayne Tait Photography

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