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Te Arawa Welcome Government Decision Re MIQ

Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Te Paetapu o Te Pākira Marae, Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa leaders have welcomed the Government’s announcement this afternoon that an additional MIQ facility will not be established in Rotorua.

The Government had been exploring another MIQ site in Rotorua – but had received strong opposition from iwi, community leaders and the business sector.

Rotorua already hosts three MIQ – significantly more isolation facilities per head of population than any other New Zealand centre.

Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao and Ngāti Whakaue say they welcome the Government’s decision and are pleased Ministers have listened to local cultural, health and economic concerns.

But ultimately, the iwi say they are simply relieved that a proposed fourth MIQ will not go ahead in Rotorua.

“While we completely understand the frustrations and distress of New Zealanders overseas who are trying to come home, a proposed fourth MIQ in Rotorua would be a risk that is simply too much for us to bear,” says Ngāti Whakaue kaumatua and Te Arawa COVID Hub Chair, Monty Morrison.

“We are a community that is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and the threat of community transmission from an MIQ is an ever-present danger.

“While we have a base level of confidence around our existing sites, they weren’t without their teething issues in the initial months. The seriousness of Delta means we simply cannot afford that level of risk in our rohe.

“We would like to publicly thank Government Ministers for listening to our concerns and making an appropriate decision based on those. The announcement today is the culmination of many weeks of discussions and hui, involving a large number of people, and this joint effort has paid off.”

Tūhourangi Tribal Authority Chair, Kirikowhai Mikaere says its people are thrilled with the Government’s decision.

“The proposed location for the additional site was literally on the back doorstep of the historic Whakarewarewa Village – a location that is still home to many of our whānau, and that is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of tourism in Aotearoa,” says Ms Mikaere.

“The village provides income, shelter, and spiritual sustenance for an iwi that has contributed hugely to the fabric of this nation.

“The proposed MIQ development would have significantly impacted our cultural obligations and responsibilities, and inhibited our city’s economic and tourism recovery. Now that this cloud has passed, we can go back to focusing on supporting our whānau through COVID.”

Te Paetapu o Te Pākira Marae representative, Aneta Morgan says everyone involved is grateful for the Government’s decision and a protest that was scheduled for Saturday will now not take place.

“We would like to warmly thank Te Arawa whānui for their support and for standing in protest with us.

“With this announcement today, we can happily ask Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Te Arawa and our wider community to stand down.”

Mr Morrison says Te Arawa looks forward to working with and supporting Government Ministers and officials on significant other health, housing and economic initiatives for the Rotorua community, including a co-ordinated plan to build back our tourism and wider economy.

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