'Discriminated against' whānau Māori wants MIQ hotels to appoint Māori advisers

updated By Tumamao Harawira

Whānau in MIQ claim managed isolation hotels have failed to understand and acknowledge Māori points of view.

A Ngāpuhi whānau who feel isolated in an MIQ facility in Tāmaki Makaurau has come out attacking the environment in MIQ facilities, claiming there is discrimination and a lack of knowledge about Māoritanga.

Simone and Ramond Ihaka have been in managed isolation at MIQ facility at the Novotel Hotel in Ellerslie Auckland since last week, and they say things there have become unbearable.

Ramond says it's affected the mind, body and spirit.

“When I first entered MIQ, I had nothing for four days, sat in the same dirty clothes. Even though I was calling him every single day and asking’ I need some clothes please’.”

Simone says the stresses of managed isolation are taking its toll.

Serious stress

“It started to mentally mess with my health. I stopped eating. I stopped drinking and looking after myself because I was just so drained.”

And those claims have been supported by a trust that has been advocating for struggling whānau in MIQ.

It’s not all bad news for some whānau in MIQ. Chanel Hepi and her partner and three children have been in quarantine at the Holiday Inn in Māngere. Chanel is nine months pregnant.

She says the staff at the Holiday Inn have been amazing.

“They were really awesome and I'd get seen twice a day. There was no lack of them not being there and I'd always get called up by the doctor as well”.

Not catering for pregnant women

Chanel has been moved to hospital before the arrival of her fourth child. She says having facilities to accommodate pregnant women is something that can be approved upon

“Knowing that that's not the field that they are trained in that was a bit scary.”

Mā te Huruhuru Trust has been working with whānau in managed isolation. Te Kou o Rehua Panapa has been in constant dialogue with whānau in managed isolation.

“Everyone's got their own experiences. Some families are having really good experiences, they've been looked after.

“But the big thing that's coming through that everyone has in common is the lack of manaakitanga. They want to see a Māori face and speak to a Māori person.”

A spokesperson for MIQ says that they have heard the message and are in the process of establishing Māori advisors at each managed facility in Auckland.