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He Waka Tapu Helping Families During Lockdown

He Waka Tapu have continued to aid vulnerable whānau across Christchurch throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and are preparing to provide a lot more ongoing support in the coming months.

“Over the last 7 weeks we have delivered 850 kai packages, received close to a 400% increase in calls through the 0800 HEY BRO help-line and assisted in Covid-19 testing at the Wainoni CBAC testing station,” says He Waka Tapu CEO Jackie Burrows.

“We usually provide a Pātaka Kai service to the community, but had to rethink how to continue meeting the demand for food during lockdown. By mobilising the service, families have been able to safely receive food, hygiene and personal care packages.”

The not-for-profit organisation, had put in place a non-referral system allowing any families struggling to request food packages. Kaimahi (staff) had been given extensive training in health and safety to pack and deliver food to families. Produce grown in their Maara Kai program bolstered food packages and a partnership with KiwiHarvest and Manaaki20 provided extra food, including 400 Easter eggs over the holiday period.

“I am pleased we were able to pull together our resources efficiently to continue supporting whānau. In preparation for winter and the anticipated loss of jobs and income across Canterbury, we have partnered with Foodbank Aotearoa to continue providing food packages in the coming months.”

“We’ve also been involved in the first CBAC testing station in the South Island at Ngā Hau e Whā Marae in Wainoni. There’s no cost and no GP referral required. Ngā Hau E Wha Marae has ensured people take home a hot nourishing meal with them. It’s open daily between 10am-3pm until at least the end of May.”

East Christchurch CBAC Testing Centre

“Our 0800 HEY BRO staff have been very busy since the beginning of lockdown, taking calls 24/7 from people throughout New Zealand. It’s likely the high level of calls will continue, with families under pressure and facing uncertainty,” explains Jackie.

He Waka Tapu have also continued to provide important health and social services to the community at this critical time. Staff have been working from home carrying out whānau wellness checks, one-on-one counselling, running community and relapse groups online, ensuring medical needs are still being met and organising free firewood deliveries for families.

He Waka Tapu Kaimahi Staff

The Mauri Ora drug and alcohol residential program has remained open throughout the lockdown, to minimise substance harm in the community. This has meant restricted access to the facilities and staff living onsite to keep those in recovery safe.

The drive through testing station opened on the 18th April, in collaboration with Ngā Maata Waka and led by the Whānau Ora Community Clinic. Specifically setup in East Christchurch with a holistic Māori approach to health.

0800 HEY BRO (439 276) is a free violence prevention helpline for men, allowing them to talk to someone about their immediate concerns. Further support is provided by He Waka Tapu or are put in touch with support services in their region.

He Waka Tapu is a Kaupapa Māori not-for-profit health organisation based in Christchurch and has been in operation since 1996. Providing support in domestic violence, community probation, Oranga Tamariki, breast screening and cervical smears checks, alcohol and other drug programs receiving referrals across the South Island.

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