COVID-19 forces Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuarā to adapt tangihanga protocol

updated By Kereama Wright

Te Arawa iwi, Ngāti Kea Ngāti Tuarā, have made the difficult decision of adapting tangihanga protocol to ensure the safety of all.  

Iwi leaders issued a statement last night as the tribe prepared for the arrival of a tūpāpaku to Kearoa Marae in Horohoro, south of Rotorua, "a decision has been made to temporarily change our tangihanga tikanga to respect and ensure the safety of our manuhiri and the haukāinga."

"We continue to welcome manuhiri and ope who want to come to farewell Violet. However, at the conclusion of whaikōrero both ope and haukāinga will not hariru or hongi. Instead, a karakia will be had which will whakanoa both manuhiri and haukāinga."

"Our intention is to not pana manuhiri or make you feel unwelcome. Instead our intention is to ensure your wellbeing while you are with us."

"In addition, we will also take extra measures to raise the level of hygiene again to manaaki our manuhiri."

- Manuhiri will be directed to wharepaku to wash their hands
- We as haukāinga have taken extra precautions when preparing kai.
- Hand sanitiser will be available for all

Hapū member, Hemi Waerea said "the decision was raised when we were faced with the sudden passing of our aunt and all the speculation around Covid-19. As we met to prepare for the tangihanga we didn't once consider that she could not lie at her tupuna whare, we instead discussed how we could ensure that she did lie there and how we could maintain safety and tikanga for our manuhiri and ourselves."

"As a whānau we, along with some of our kaumātua, discussed the options, the risks, and mitigations. We ourselves knew we could mitigate risks if we followed MOH guidelines and ensured all our whanau were informed and ready."

Waerea says they do not know how long the protocol will remain in place, "but we will continue until we are sure we are not risking anyone's health."

"The tangihanga forced us to think differently, to rethink our tikanga for a short while. how do we maintain the mana of our aunt, the mana of our marae, hapū and iwi and that of our manuhiri.

"The rā-nehu will be a test in itself when it comes to numbers. We hope to hold her outside on the mahau [porch], weather permitting so that those who attend the rā-nehu will have space to spread out but also the opportunity to pay their respects to the whānau.

"We assume that some may not want to attend for that reason and may send messages and koha to the whānau as a result. he whakaaro rangatira tonu tera. te tuku karere, te tuku koha ranei ki te whānau."