First confirmed case in Tuhoe nation

By Taroi Black

Tūhoe tribal leaders are gearing up to provide safety measures following a confirmed case in Waimana valley, 26km southeast of Whakatāne.

The urgency from the iwi authority Te Uru Taumatua to protect and support whānau will see “several pop-up testing sites” for those who have been in close contact with the woman who was tested positive and has been ordered to self-isolate, Te Waimana Kaaku chair Marewa Titoko says.

“There are two people in her household. But as you are well aware of our behaviour, we go and visit one another over the weekends.”

“That's a concern we have.”

It has been reported that Te Urewera population has only reached just over 40 percent - receiving at least one vaccination dose.

Te Ao Māori News understands over 80% of kaumātua / pakeke from the iwi have received their second shot. That’s compared to a low number of rangatahi in the iwi being vaccinated, which poses a high risk of a Delta outbreak.

Tūhoe plan

“At this stage, we are gathering information with the whānau of their movements, so we can provide the support that is needed.”

The Waimana and Taneatua medical centres will run door-to-door testing in Matahi valley, south of Waimana, while other testing clinics will be held at the Waimana Domain and Tuapō Marae.

Whānau have been advised to self-isolate for at least 48 hours until they receive their results.

“Even though we have a safety service provider here in Te Waimana, several providers from other areas like Ruatoki, Tāneatua have come in to show their support.”

“The problem is that this is a new virus. But right now, it's about getting testing, the hapū, the Te Waimana community, and the entire Tūhoe iwi.”