900 Tairāwhiti people have been tested for COVID-19

By Taroi Black
Gisborne kaumātua Nanny Sue Baker getting her tests completed - Photo / File

Ngāti Porou Hauora gear up for mobile COVID-19 testing stations at Potaka School, Te Araroa Road and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti in Hicks Bay.

The walk-up swabbing allows people to remain near their bubble while they are tested. This service proves that local Māori health providers are fulfilling their commitment to help the most vulnearable communities. These communities lacked access to the much needed healthcare services before the pandemic. COVID-19 has made these vulnearable people the top priority in Tairāwhiti.

Ngāti Porou Hauora CEO Rose Kahaki says, “By having mobile testing up the East Coast of course it's going to allow people to have quicker easier access.”

Ngāti Porou Hauora have also joined forces with Hauora Tairāwhiti – the region’s local DHB to test people in rural communities.

“There's no need from North of Potaka to come all the way to Te Puia (Hospital) in terms of having a vehicle petrol etc. So it's putting a tool right in the heart of the community."

Hauora Tairāwhiti had processed 741 people as of 18 April and today 159 tests were completed throughout the region.   

Group Manager Te Puna Waiora Planning and Funding for Hauora Tairāwhiti Nicole Ehau says, “We have offered to our community the opportunity to come and be tested if they are at all concern whether they have signs or symptoms of COVID-19.”

Mobile health clinics are also stationed at St Marks Church on Childers Road in Gisborne till tomorrow. While on Wednesday Waharoa Dental Centre, Kaiti will roll walk-up swabbing for the remaining three days.

Deputy Director-General Māori Health John Whaanga from the Ministry of Health told Te Ao Māori News this has been an overwhelming time for whānau Māori nationwide.

“I do take on board our people are really concerned and they really want to make sure that their pakeke and their kaumātua are safe. So I think they really want to challenge us to make sure we're testing in areas that we might not have tested in the past,” Whaanga says.