‘Fluffing around’ – Māori providers waiting on funding for desperate whānau

By Taroi Black

Taumata Kōrero chair Hurimoana Dennis is pleased funding has been sorted out to help desperate whānau in this lockdown but he thinks it should go to the Māori providers who have been doing the hard mahi until now.

He says Māori providers are having to reassure whānau “they will get kai, connectivity, hygiene packs and medicines" once the government's new Traffic Light System starts up, Dennis says.

Today the government launched three major funds that will be part of controlling the Delta outbreak, as the country gears up for the summer holidays.

It's desperately needed - for the past eight weeks of lockdown, members of Taumata Kōrero,  a collective of Māori providers that operates the logistics and delivers clinical support for more than 200,000 people in Tāmaki Makaurau have been faced with a problem - filling the self-isolation service gaps left by government agencies.

“Public health organisations and district health boards are not delivering; they need to pick up more mobile services,” Dennis says.

The government is now investing $204.1 million into a welfare support system called Care in the Community. It will support individuals and whānau who contract Covid-19 and need to isolate at home.

Most of the mahi

The strategy will offer regional teams working alongside other government agencies, iwi/Māori and community providers for housing, food and income support.

Taumata Kōrero has devised a ‘tapu noho’ model to help whānau for up to 30 days in isolation.

Dennis met Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today alongside other organisations to explain how they do most of the mahi going door-to-door to provide help.

‘While everyone is fluffing around, someone needs to knock on the door.’

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni told Te Ao Māori News there won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ strategy as iwi/Māori have their own action plans to control the spread of the virus.  

“The Ministry of Social Development’s regions will work with partners, including iwi/Māori and local providers to deliver this support and provide funding where it is needed,” she says. "They will also work with Health, Housing & Development, Kāinga Ora and the Ministry of Business to find suitable alternative accommodation if someone has tested positive and can’t isolate at home

Coping with more Covid cases

“Supporting the welfare needs of individuals and whānau is central to how we will manage Covid-19 in the community from now on.”

The government is increasing the support for New Zealanders who test positive for Covid-19 through the rollout of the Covid Care in the Community model and there will be a $300 million funding boost to Pharmac to buy new medicines to treat the virus, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today.

“Delta is here, so we are changing our strategy for how we deal with the virus. Supported recovery at home and greater access to medicines to stop people getting very sick are the cornerstones of the Care in the Community model,” Little says.

“As we move to the Traffic Light System, reduce restrictions, and remove the Auckland boundary, people will be travelling around the country in the months to come and we will see more cases across the country.”

There will be a nearly $1 billion investment in testing, contact tracing and case investigation. Nasopharyngeal PCR tests will continue to be used as the primary diagnostic test but this will be supplemented by saliva-based PCR testing, rapid antigen testing and rapid PCR tests.

“From December 1, businesses will be able to directly source from authorised suppliers approved rapid antigen tests for use within their workforce," Health Associate Minister Ayesha Verrall says. " These tests will be more widely used across our health system, including aged residential care."