Māori health providers reassuring whānau post-storm

By Muriwai Hei

Manurewa Marae is once again coming to the rescue during a time of disaster and supporting families hit by floods in South Auckland.

The marae became a key centre for support during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing both aid and vaccinations, and has since also helped those most in need in their community.

This time the marae has contacted up to 1,500 families and 170 elders on health matters and food essentials as well, while also reassuring families about events they have never heard of such as "state of emergency". 

"Our whanau are still scared, and they are anxious. they are really unsure of what to do," Manurewa Marae chief executive Takutai Kemp says. 

"They don't know what a state of emergency is,  they actually don't know out here, our whanau. We naturally look for leadership from our Auckland Council but again, as a Māori provider and a marae, we can provide a response alongside our other providers out here in Tamaki Makaurau."

Manurewa Marae aims to help the many families in its community affected by the severe storms over the weekend. But Kemp says this is something a lot of Maori health providers are doing out in South Auckland. 

Manurewa Marae answers the call for help again.

'Ready to roll'

"We've been fortunate that we haven't suffered as heavy flood damage as other parts of South Auckland and the wider Tamaki Makaurau. We have checked in with a lot of our whanau here in Manurewa since Friday night and a lot of our whanau are doing relatively well and, for those who have needed support, it's mostly been around kai and bedding, clothing, and we've been able to support those whanau," Kemp says. 

Kaimahi Hilda Peters also says providing this type of support isn't new to herself and other staff and the well-being of families is important. 

"This isn't anything new to us here. We do this type of work all the time. So, when we got the message about the severe weather here in Auckland, we were ready to roll and our staff know the work must go on to support and help families in the communities of Manurewa and wider Auckland as well."

People who need assistance are asked to call the marae's 0800 number for support and also the other Maori health providers across Auckland.