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Whānau Resilience To COVID-19 Increased In Kaiaua

When the second Aotearoa-wide lockdown was announced, the Wharekawa Marae Reservation Trust in Whakatiwai, Kaiaua (near the Coromandel) was able to better respond swiftly to the needs of their whānau and community.

Funding the Trust received from the Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities Fund (BSRC) was instrumental in their response to COVID-19 and has set them up for the future.

The Te Puni Kōkiri fund invests in capability and provides resources to support iwi and Māori organisations to build sustainable and resilient communities.

This investment is helping the Trust build strategic and critical relationships to provide support to whānau and the community, particularly in response to COVID-19.

Prior to lockdown, the Trust proactively began working with Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki, on a plan to transport whānau to vaccination providers.

"When we went into lockdown, we were able to pivot to respond to the direct needs of whānau, ensuring access to testing and regular medical services," said Kaiwhakahāere, Eddie Manukau.

"This relationship meant we got a mobile vaccination clinic up and running. Of our whānau, 70-80 per cent have had their first vaccination. In October the clinic will run again to ensure whānau get their second dose."

"We felt better prepared this time as a result of the BSRC investment and the relationships it enabled us to create. Our learnings from 2020 were vital to enabling our immediate mobilisation using our identified whānau leads, and quickly conducting wellbeing checks via social media and phone calls."

The Trust is using the community connections of marae whānau to contact the wider Māori community to encourage them to get vaccinated.

"A more co-ordinated approach to ensuring our whānau receive the right information to inform their vaccination decisions is crucial. We are scoping a shared vaccination drive with other marae and iwi within our rohe.", says Eddie.

Trustee Michelle Wilson agrees the BSRC Fund increased the Trust’s capacity and capability to pivot resources to support whānau o Wharekawa Marae.

"We were in a position to immediately respond to the Alert Level 4 announcement on 17 August 2021. We were able to activate communications to pull together whānau leads from around the rohe, ensuring whānau needs were quickly identified and supported," said Michelle.

Wharekawa Marae is one of many examples of the direct impact on whānau that results from funding iwi, hapū and Māori organisations to carry out regionally led initiatives.

"We are proud to continue our support of Wharekawa Marae. It is encouraging to see how the Trust has utilised the funding to effect positive, future-focused change in their community," said Te Puni Kōkiri Regional Director, Martin Mariassouce.

Last week Te Puni Kōkiri announced the COVID-19 Whānau Recovery Fund, a further $5 million to provide immediate relief to vulnerable whānau Māori and communities in Tamaki Makaurau, Te Tai Tokerau and Northern Waikato.

Te Puni Kōkiri is continuing to support hapū, iwi, Māori providers and organisations to facilitate a Māori-led response and recovery from COVID-19.

© Scoop Media

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