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Ngāti Hine Communities Unite In COVID-19 Response

“Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine” is the new Ngāti Hine community response group, established to lead out a long-term community response to COVID-19. Following crisis talks, the group decided to reach out wider and establish a coordinated operating system to serve the whole community. Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine recognised the impacts that COVID-19 has already had on household incomes, some with pre-existing issues around poverty, high-risk health and social concerns, rural remoteness in areas, mixed with diverse needs in urban areas like Whangarei.

Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine will activate an operational team to support people within Te Porowini o Ngāti Hine (South of Whangarei to the Mid-North). Ngati Hine Health Trust will provide a central base and deploy several staff to operations. Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine will look to work alongside Ngātiwai Trust Board, Te Rūnanga ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi, local NGOs, Whānau Ora Collectives and other community groups. The focus is to empower whānau, hapū and communities to provide crisis support to their own, and ongoing wellbeing support according to their own tikanga.

Te Manawaroa means ‘tenacity, resilience and strength of character’, which are principles that will help guide the kaupapa through its work with the community. Key features of Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine’s approach include a Reference Group with representatives from community, marae and agencies; and secondly a supporting Operations Team to carry out coordination, logistics and to streamline resources and information. Relationships around the region and country are critical during this time, with the focus being a common interest in the welfare of all people.

Pita Tipene of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Hine said, “Grassroots work had already been done by many groups and individuals. This kaupapa would look to enhance that by providing a coordination hub and support”. Geoff Milner, CEO of Ngāti Hine Health Trust said, “We have already seen the goodwill and innovation in our communities with care and kai packs given out before the lock-down. We are concerned about the latter weeks of the ‘whakakōpani’ or lock down. We’re concerned also about the long-term impacts on our whānau in the north. This will be a marathon with sprints in between. Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine will be looking at both the short term needs and the long term impacts and how best to coordinate the efforts”.

Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine Reference Group includes

· Dr Mataroria Lyndon (Clinical Lead)

· Pamela Simon-Baragwanath, Season-Mary Downs and Shelley Kawiti-Jessop (Community Representatives)

· Pita Tipene (Runanga Representative)

· Rowena Tana (Marae Representative)

· Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu (Church Representative)

· Ngahau Davis (NGO Representative)

· Geoff Milner (Ngāti Hine Health Trust Representative)

· Albert Cash and Paul Tipene (Fire & Emergency Services, Police, St Johns NZ Representatives)

· Kelly Stratford (Local Government Representative)

Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine Operations Team

· Operations Lead - Jen Rutene-Smith

· Administration Support - Wuki Beazley

· Planning - Huhana Lyndon

· Community Welfare - Manuwai Wells

· Logistics - Leanne Tamou

· Communications - Amadonna Jakeman – supported by Erana Fenton

· Intelligence Coordination - Rachel Henare - supported by Margaret Wikaire

Following the requirements of Alert Level Four from the Government around hygiene, isolation and social distancing factors, a coordination centre has been set up based at the Ngāti Hine Health Trust’s site, Rayner Street in Kawakawa with a view to extend into Whangarei. The Trust continues to support its other essential services as a health, social service and Whānau Ora provider in the North.

The health and safety of community members, volunteers and trust staff is paramount for Te Manawaroa o Ngāti Hine. This will be overseen by the Ngāti Hine Health Trust essential services accreditation where the Government is providing regular updates and protocols. Relationships with the Ministry of Social Development around welfare and Te Puni Kokiri is critical, as the ministries have already engaged with other iwi and hapū.

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