MEDIA STATEMENT – 14 MAY 2020

 Ngāti Hine Responds to Level Two

Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine community response group while supportive of the government’s Covid-19 alert level guidelines, the group is developing its own tailored version to suit local conditions. Pita Tipene, chair for Te Manawaroa said, “A finer and more detailed brush is needed alongside the broad brush approach by the government”. This is especially important, as the needs of people in Te Tai Tokerau are diverse, with a high Māori population and often-high needs that require a customised approach.

“While it’s heartening to see the Government has now increased the numbers who can attend tangihanga from 10 to 50 people. The move to Level 2 highlights the lack of consultation with Māori in decisions that impact on our Māori communities, particularly in terms of hui-mate which is core to whānau, hapū, and iwi life”, said Dr Mataroria Lyndon.

Rowena Tana, marae representative for Te Manawaroa acknowledged that tangihanga or hui-mate is a real concern. “There needs to be room provided in the guidelines for whānau and marae to develop their own ‘plan’ to manage and mitigate the heightened risk posed at these gatherings.

“We need to ask important questions around when marae reopen and what that will look like. This is particularly important in times of grief and total sadness, that whānau and communities are responsible around the health and safety of themselves and others. That’s what we must remain cognisant of and prepare for”, said Rowena Tana.

Under Alert Level 2, recreational sports are allowed with physical distancing and hunters can travel inter-regionally. Ngahau Davis of He Iwi Kotahi Tātou Trust said, “This is good news for many of our whānau who hunt and fish to sustain their whānau and have been restricted in Alert Level 3 and 4. It’s also part of our orangatanga being outside and the ability to provide for ourselves and our whānau.”

With the move to Alert Level Two today, Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine wants to see much more consultation from the government and its various agencies before any further Alert Levels are announced and any legislation that impacts on tino rangatiratanga. Furthermore, that following announcements, strong support is given for local initiatives to sustain themselves. A key part of consultation has to be genuine engagement, accessibility, communication, and customised strategies that address inequities particularly for Māori. That means a by Māori, with Māori, for Māori approach over the medium to long term.

Statistics show 70 percent of confirmed Covid-19 cases being Pākehā with 70 percent relating to overseas connections. Te Tai Tokerau Māori communities hardly feature in the statistics because they are taking responsibility to keep Covid-19 out of Te Tai Tokerau with local initiatives. Those initiatives coming from grassroots, reaching demographics that mainstream services are just not reaching and if these initiatives were not there, the impacts of Covid-19 could have been more severe with many whanau worse off.

Dr Mataroria Lyndon said, “The COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill was rushed through parliament last night with a lack of consultation with hapū as Tiriti o Waitangi partners. While Public Health legislation is an important response to a pandemic, the proposal to enter premises including our marae without a warrant undermines Ngāti Hine tino rangatiratanga”

“There’s no time like now to look at how we can do things differently. We don’t want to be going back to the silo approach. We want to build on the mahi that has been done during Covid and I mihi to all of our kaimahi and whānau who are the backbone of the response thus far. How do we now continue the good mahi that have come out of this Covid response?” said Dr Mataroria Lyndon.

Key Alert Level Two government points can be found at https://covid19.govt.nz/

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For the Ngāti Hine Support Line Call: 0800 737 573

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