Self-isolation not easy for whānau in Northland

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

As the country's two top leaders self-isolate in comfort, the scenario looks bleak for many whānau in Te Tai Tokerau. With no bach or holiday home option, Ngāpuhi hapū are calling on whānau to prepare for self-isolation.  

Overcrowding and dampness are rife.  No family should live like this but whare in Northland are the dampest in New Zealand.

Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi acting chief executive Mane Tahere says it’s not a new concern. He says it’s a failure of government that these issues weren’t sorted out before Covid-19 arrived.

In Kaikohe, 40 per cent of houses have been found to have significant mould, creating a breeding ground for illnesses.

Now hapū like Ngāti Tautahi are using campervans to help whānau who may need to isolate but who are living in overcrowded situations. Tahere says self-isolating in these conditions is unrealistic and expects cases will rise in the hundreds over the next two weeks.

Not ideal but needed

He says campervans are not ideal but whānau need support now.

Both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro are isolating after they were exposed to a close contact, attracting angry comments online - a sign of the continuing divide.

Ngāti Tautahi isn't leaving anything to chance, equipping whānau with tools including teaching them how to test, vaccinate and assist people in isolation.

Ngāti Tautahi has set up a hub in anticipation of the Covid wave for both the vaxxed and unvaxxed

"You don't need to like it, you just need to know that there's support here at the marae."

Ngāpuhi is organising another five marae to be set up as hubs by next week.