Kia ora koutou,
What a difference a week makes!
It’s week one into the new normal of confinement and social distancing. Our challenge this week has been seamlessly shifting the office activities to home-based staff and working on a new set of priorities.
The focus this week is contacting kaumātua, the most vulnerable and at-risk group in our community, for a risk assessment. We are checking to see if they are okay and have sufficient support networks in place. A common thread when speaking with kaumātua has been worries about loneliness and isolation. This can impact on the wellbeing of the elderly and now more than ever is the time for whānau to make contact with kaumātua and anyone who may need contact. Please call kaumātua for a chat and ask if they need help with groceries and prescriptions. The good news is we are in the process of organising a small koha for our kaumātua. We have also received some funding for Te Tauihu kaumātua for Aroha packages.
Māori and Pacific people have not fared well in pandemics of times past and are a community most at risk. In response, iwi and other Māori authorities have acted quickly in the last week. Te Tauihu Iwi Chairs have set up Rōpū Kōkiri ā-Iwi (KAI) to coordinate the eight iwi in Te Tauihu, NGO’s and Councils to advocate for the region and ensure a timely and efficient response to the current crisis. This is being chaired by Rebecca Mason with representatives from all eight iwi, Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, NZ Police, Maataa Waka and Te Piki Oranga. A key issue recently has been agreeing on guidelines for tangihanga during this crisis, we will have more details on this once the guidelines have been through the approval process. The GM’s for each iwi will meet weekly to coordinate activities and support the KAI Team.
Not surprisingly, all grant funding for this years planned Tangata Rau, Reo Kotahi activities have been postponed until the Covid-19 outbreak is under control. While we do not know how long the crisis will last, we do know that the economic impact will be severe on whānau, individuals and businesses. It will be a tough year financially but the Rūnanga has no debt and a sustainable income, so we are in a better position than many to take advantage of opportunities when the crisis is over. In the meantime we need to be prudent and cut back on some activities this year.
Nō reira e hoa mā, the message this week is to have a chat with those who may be alone and to please give the office a call if we can help.
Mā te wā