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Iwi Prepare For Pandemic

Māori tribal authorities across the country are swinging into action to co-ordinate and provide assistance and resources in the effort to minimise the impacts of COVID-19.

Mike Smith, Chairperson of the Iwi Leaders Group for Climate Change, says that iwi organisations have considerable capacity and skills, and are in the early phase of planning a series of regional responses to the pandemic.

Smith goes on to explain that despite vulnerabilities, Māori communities can provide relief and effective leadership in difficult situations, by mobilising volunteers and skilled health professionals, making some Marae available in the event of emergencies, and information sharing though Māori networks.

“We have established a National Pandemic Response Group to ensure that Māori needs and contributions are co-ordinated, alongside efforts of the government and other agencies.”

“Kaumatua and people with compromised immunity need to be supported. We endorse the caution to maintain distance, limit unnecessary social contact and the temporary adaptation of tikanga.”

“This is not an extinction event, if we prepare and manage well together, we will get through this.”


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