Professor Margaret Mutu of Auckland University is calling for Māori to stop bullying toward Covid-19 confirmed cases. The spokeswoman for Ngāti Kahu took to Facebook to raise her concerns, pleading for people to stop after being alerted to this issue in the Far North.
Ngāti Kahu has confirmed they have an uri who is Covid-19 positive.
“We were advised that we did have a Covid-19 victim in our area in Ngāti Kahu. We had tried so really hard to keep it out, making sure our people were isolating, keeping in their bubbles. We were making sure our kuia and kaumātua got their kai packs, their water, their medicine but every step we took we always knew there was a chance with Covid-19 amongst us,” Professor Mutu says.
The iwi spokesperson says they worked with health authorities to ensure the Covid-19 positive person had protection mechanisms around them and to ensure it did not spread. However, they were shocked at what came next.
“We discovered that various individuals who had found out who it was started attacking not only the person but also the whānau. One of the kuia came to us and she was tangi hotuhotu ana. She was so upset at what was happening.”
Mutu says the Ngāti Kahu elders addressed the issue immediately.
“Not only is the Covid-19 bad but to attack the whānau that’s not on, come on people. And so we talked about it and decided that we would issue a video that I would front and we would send messages out to say this is totally unacceptable.”
She confirmed that their Covid-19 positive uri is receiving all the support they need.
“They did go into isolation straight away. The one who actually had Covid-19 was hospitalised and when they came out of the hospital they stayed by the hospital. So they haven’t actually come home. But the whānau is isolated and they’re doing ok as far as we know.”
Mutu says Ngāti Kahu has one message for their uri.
“It comes from our tino kuia, Reremoana Renata. Ko te mea nui ka aroha tētahi ki tētahi.”