Iwi collective urges to stay at Level 4 despite Govt announcement

By Jessica Tyson

The Te Ranga Tupua Iwi Collective is urging whānau, iwi and all communities to “hold the line” and maintain an Alert Level 4 mentality despite the Government’s decision to move to Level 3 next Tuesday.

Te Ranga Tupua is a collective made up of iwi extending across the Whanganui, Central Plateau, Rangitīkei and South Taranaki regions. The iwi work together regularly on matters of mutual interest.  

The collective says that the Government’s decision to move to Level 3 next week does not address the inherent vulnerabilities present in iwi communities.

Te Ranga Tupua spokesperson Gerrard Albert says, “A change in alert status doesn’t make our people less vulnerable to the ravages of COVID-19, especially our kaumatua. So we are continuing to view the threat as seriously as we have from the start.”

There have been eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Whanganui District Health Board region since Level 4 isolation began and iwi are stressing the reality that the threat is ongoing.

The Te Ranga Tupua Iwi Collective stance is that until a vaccine is available, communities must continue to be vigilant, maintain hygiene and isolation bubbles to keep COVID-19 at bay.

“Regardless of the Government’s Level 3 announcement, people must stay home unless they absolutely have to leave their bubble to access essential services – the risk to our whanau remains."

Albert says iwi will continue to support measures such as road closures on Kaiwhaiki and River roads and active policing to discourage visitors from outside the region.

The country will move from Level 4 to Level 3 on Tuesday, April 28.