Covid-19: Iwi collective urges whānau to prepare to be frontline carers

Posted 24 November 2021 by Moana Ellis

The 15th of December is D-Day for the Ranga Tupua iwi collective as it scrambles to protect vulnerable communities in the central plateau, Rangitīkei, South Taranaki and Whanganui against Covid-19.

Nurses in the Far North Vaccinating during the lockdown

Vaccinations underway in the far north. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

On 15 December, Aucklanders will be able to travel to other parts of the country if they have been either fully vaccinated or have had a negative test in the previous 72 hours.

Te Ranga Tupua operations lead Nancy Tuaine says the iwi collective has its work cut out to drive up some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and help whānau prepare for illness and self-isolation.

“From the 3rd of December, they’ll open Auckland up and they’ll be able to move throughout the country from the 15th of December. So as much as possible we’ve got to improve the resilience across our communities so that when people do start to travel we are reducing as much as possible the impact of Covid on our communities.”

Tuaine, who is also chief executive of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, said the impacts of a Delta outbreak in local communities, including isolated river, mountain and rural communities, were unknown.

“It’s untested here because we haven’t had a case so we don’t actually know what the impacts of that look like. I think once it’s more visible then people will choose to make decisions that are right for them.

“And we need to be ready because it’s on our doorstep – it’s all around us, on each side of us and up the top in Waikato, in Tūwharetoa, so it’s coming closer.”

Tuaine was urging whānau, particularly those who had chosen not to be vaccinated, to prepare for Covid-19 with a whānau hauora and oranga plan.

“We need to be our first line of defence as whānau. How do we support each other, are there spaces of isolation if we need [them], who can shop for us, particularly making sure that our kaumātua have those connections now – who is able to support them?

“Because from all accounts, when it hits it really takes you out. So it’s not just about being able to shop – they will need people to care for them. Even across the ages, we’ll need to be first-line carers because the system won’t cope.”

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