Iwi uniting to ensure families provided for during lockdown

updated By Dean Nathan

Iwi living in Auckland to Cape Reinga have united in an effort to ensure all families in their tribal regions are properly taken care of for the duration of the lockdown.

Food is being distributed to feed all, irrespective of who they are.

"This is one of the venues being used to distribute food. Te Kahu o Taonui, representing the leaders of all tribes of the North, are working as one.  We are working with those to the south and the Far North who are sending their people here to distribute and cart the food off to feed their respective peoples," Mere Mangu says, who is Heamana o Ngāpuhi.

Arama Prime is in charge of logistics and distribution in Ngāpuhi central.

"So the fresh produce, we've got apples, onions, potatoes, cabbages, oranges and sausages. And then there's a lot of the non-perishables, like the water, the pasta, the canned fruit, the canned vegetables and our bread as well.  We've got a lot more kai arriving tomorrow as well, so this is just a part of it," Prime of Ngāti Hine says.

Jackie Edwards Bruce of Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa says, "This is a massive undertaking for all the tribes, for the people of Ngāpuhi, to support our elders and families to ensure they don't perish, they're not forgotten or burdened."

It is assumed most families will have sufficient food supply to last this first week of lockdown but it is thought that they may begin to struggle by the second and third weeks, with their food cupboards emptying out and families in need of support.

"We're going to be rolling out our first deliveries starting on Monday and then from there, there'll be regular intervals.  We're still finalising details whether that will be weekly or fortnightly, whichever is going to have the lowest amount of risk for us is probably the route we'll take," Prime says.

"Despite the government forecasting this situation to continue for four weeks, we have a clear plan to ensure the well-being of our people from Auckland to Cape Reinga," Mangu says.