With Christmas on our doorstep, borders opening up on December 15 and people around Aotearoa heading up north to see whānau, there are growing concerns for the safety of those that cannot get vaccinated, including tamariki under 12 years, immunocompromised and our kaumātua.
CEO of Ngātiwai, Huhana Lyndon, says she is waiting for a response from the government regarding concerns the iwi have raised about the opening up of their borders, where police have stated that only 'spot checks' will be used.
“That's not good enough. It doesn't give us enough assurance that somebody is watching. So certainly we are having internal conversations around what border checkpoints could be put in place in the future,” she says.
Lyndon says whānau need to be aware of the low vaccination rates in Te Tai Tokerau and be considerate of our loved ones.
“It's about working together to protect all of our joint whakapapa in this Covid pandemic.”
Lydon notes that with the borders opening on December 15, Ngātiwai has a Covid response plan in place and is holding kāinga-based conversations to prepare for when the virus enters their kāinga and how to prepare.
“But we are also still focused on accelerating those Māori vaccination rates.”
Lyndon says she respects Shane Jones and Waihoroi Shortland's kōrero for whānau not to be afraid to return home, but she also warns whānau to be responsible hapū members by being vaccinated and receiving a negative test before returning home.
“We also encourage whānau to respect the fear at home,” she says.