East coast iwi start online food shopping system

By Regan Paranihi

Te Whānau a Apanui continue to rise to the challenge that COVID-19 poses for their rohe.

They have made essential shopping easier for their community by creating their very own online shopping scheme called Apanui World. The nearest New World to Te Whānau a Apanui rohe is 40 minutes away in Ōpōtiki.

Community leader Rāwiri Waititi says creating another option like this enhances the safety measures that are already in place.

“We don't want our tribe to have to go outside of our borders of Te Whānau a Apanui. Hence why we have created this initiative to protect the locals that live in Te Whānau a Apanui,” Waititi says.

Waititi hopes that this online option will decrease the amount of travel, to and from the community.

“If someone leaves the area the virus is already out there affecting many and could also affect them. Then they could bring it back into our area in which it will eat at our elders,” Waititi says.

“Therefore with this initiative, nobody can say, 'Oh I want to go to New World’ because we've created a New World here which is Apanui World.”

The government has banned fishing and hunting. But Waititi says that the forest and ocean are major community food sources and they are refusing to comply.

“Our livelihood is in the ocean and our forest, therefore, we will continue to here. Te Whānau a Apanui will continue to exercise their authority over their lands and ocean,” Waititi says.

Waititi encourages more Māori communities to come together and take charge of their wellbeing.

“My advice to Māori is to be strong, it is us and us alone that will get us through. Don’t rely on the government and their supplies to save us. If we don't have ourselves then we will be down in the dumps during this pandemic.”

Staying home, staying safe and protecting their people from COVID-19 remains the core focus of Te Whānau a Apanui.