Ngāpuhi teenagers living on their own struggling to cope

By Taroi Black

Vulnerable teenagers living on their own in lockdown have received a helping hand from a team of rangatahi. 

More than 240 clients, mostly without food or connectivity, have been giving a helping hand through a community action plan by Mā Te Huruhuru Charitable Trust. It has received financial backing from Te Rūnanga o Ngāpuhi and the Ministry of Social Development to carry out the response to these taitamariki, most of whom whakapapa to Ngāpuhi.  

Manaia Taylor was part of a group of frontline workers who took their first shot of Pfizer vaccine this week at Manurewa Marae. This meant the group could safely execute its action plan for their client base, some as young as 14-years-old. 

"I feel better after doing it. Now, I can be part of a kaupapa Māori that is part of helping those that have nothing," he says.  

The mental health toll in Aotearoa is expected to continue climbing during this second national lockdown, according to some health experts. It may get worse for some New Zealanders as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave regions south of the Auckland boundary a sense of freedom, dropping the alert level to 3 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Auckland and Northland will have to put up with another two more weeks at alert level 4 at minimum. 

One recipient living in Manukau who is receiving food, tech and hygiene packs from the trust has found it tough in alert level 4.   

"It really sucks because I can't do anything."