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Manaaki Key For Getting Though COVID-19

Preliminary results from a survey investigating how well-equipped Māori whānau in the South Island are to stay at home for extended periods show that the majority are prepared to manage their short-term needs, but have increasing anxiety about their longer term financial insecurity.

Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency for the South Island, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, launched #Manaaki20 earlier this week, a response focused on uplifting whānau and supporting their psychosocial needs to help them get through COVID-19.

Te Pūtahitanga Chief Executive, Helen Leahy says the agency is in the information gathering phase in order to ensure its response to whānau is appropriate, meaningful and relevant to their needs.

Three hundred and thirty-eight households in Te Waipounamu have completed the survey since it was launched on Tuesday, capturing the readiness of 1629 whānau members from a cross-section of iwi.

“The preliminary responses show that most whānau have what they need to get through in the short term, but the longer the pandemic lasts, the more important it will become for whānau to rally around and support each other. That is the main thrust of our work through the #Manaaki20 campaign.

“We know there is increasing intensity around food security, income, power and sanitation products. The reality is that pre-existing challenges will be intensified by COVID-19.

“A short term need right now is ensuring whānau can access soap and hygiene products.

Food security is likely to be a real issue for future weeks, with 42% (683) of whānau members saying they didn’t have enough kai to last four weeks.”

Examples of the type of feedback we are receiving are:

“We are already over-crowded, but my main concern is food for my family while in isolation. With so many of us home and our kids all off school, food is my biggest worry for us”.

“I can’t get through to Work and Income as the lines are down and I’ve already completely over maxed out on my advances. I’m struggling to figure out what to do”.

Te Pūtahitanga is keen to be working alongside the nine iwi of Te Waipounamu, which are also conducting their own response efforts along with marae. A key priority for the Commissioning Agency has been to ensure its work is aligning with other related efforts, to prevent duplication of effort, and ensure that whānau receive the support they need.

The focus for Whānau Ora is to support whānau through a network of whānau navigators, by either facilitating people to the supports already available, or tailoring specific solutions to assist whānau.

Ms Leahy says that they are also hearing some heart-warming stories of whānau who are doing amazing things, like the young mums in Picton who are making extra meals to be distributed to those in need; the whānau in South Dunedin who set aside their whare for whānau to have a place for self-isolation; or the proposal from Nelson for a ‘Van-Bank’ to distribute basic necessities to whānau in need – toilet paper, sanitary products, soap, food.

“Time and time again, whānau have supported each other in tough times. It’s the things whānau already do so well, like looking out for each other and giving our time, that will get us through COVID-19.

“We have set up the Manaaki20 web site to encourage whānau to share online what they’re doing to support each other through using the #Manaaki20 hashtag.

“It’s all about sharing the moments of motivation that helps whānau to connect and uplift spirits during this challenging time.”

Find out more at www.manaaki20.org

Te Waipounamu whānau can complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Manaakicall

© Scoop Media

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