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Northland Police And Iwi Helping Whanau

Delivering food packages in the Northland District is just some of the work that Northland Police and iwi has been doing during COVID-19 restrictions.

Area Commander Far North, Inspector Riki Whiu says “We started working with Far North Iwi in Te Hiku on the concept of Nga Pou Korero, which is a combined Iwi and Police-led education and help campaign, and we’ve expanded the concept into a district reassurance support initiative.”

“This post-Covid-19 reassurance campaign is mainly focussed on vulnerable whanau living in isolated areas within Te Aupouri, Ngati Kuri, Ngati Kahu, Ngai Takoto, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi, Ngati Hine, Ngati Whatua, Te Roroa, Ngati Wai and many others within our surrounding areas in Te Tai Tokerau. We’ve not only delivered food boxes in the areas collaborating with northern Iwi, but we are at “checkpoints”, making sure people are okay, that they have the information they need to cope during this lockdown.

It’s not the usual concept of a police checkpoint, where we ask people what they are doing and where they are going - it’s more than that. There is korero around getting tested and vaccinations and presence at local stores or numbers allowed at gathering areas,” he says.

We are also sharing information about family harm and other abuse prevention messages. People struggle because of being locked down and the pressures that COVID is bringing in different whare, whanau and hapu spaces, must be acknowledged. The teams are offering reassurance to whanau, assessing if any support is needed and building positive relationships.

Inspector Whiu continues “In the past few weeks the Nga Pou Korero – Community Support Reassurance Initiative has been operating roving teams and had contact with people and communities right across the more rural areas of our district. Some of the areas targeted are extremely rural and isolated requiring the use of 4wd vehicles.

Senior Sergeant Sarah Hewitt-Wihongi, who manages teams working on the front line says “The benefit and mana that whakapapa brings for our Kaimahi to make the connections in our smaller isolated communities is invaluable.This is a great opportunity to get in and connect with our people, check their welfare and build and strengthen partnerships."

Inspector Whiu says “We’ll continue with the intention of Nga Pou Korero and our Iwi that all well-being for our people is the priority, and since our people are some of the most vulnerable people in Aotearoa, we have to continue to bring humanity and manaakitanga to a crisis through our engagements and help and support them and ensure that they have the necessities required to survive during COVID restrictions and beyond.


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