The Te Ranga Tupua collective, comprised of iwi Chairs from the Rangitīkei, Ruapehu, Whanganui and South Taranaki regions, will ensure that communities continue to receive support through an 0800 number as the country inevitably moves to Alert Level 1 from next week.
The 0800 202 004 number will be available from Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm. After hours, whānau and community members can leave a message which will then be responded to in working hours.
In March the iwi collective moved swiftly to establish a hub in response to the COVID-19 threat and its subsequent impacts. Over that time, the hub engaged with approximately 6300 whānau, while food, hygiene and care packages were distributed as demand dictated
“Now we are moving from response to recovery mode, we are focusing our effort on coordinating with state and community services to meet the ongoing needs of our people,” says Te Oranganui CEO Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata.
“We want to ensure that those in need receive the support that they are entitled to. The 0800 number will provide advice and advocacy for whānau and the wider community members struggling to access their entitlements,” says Te Ranga Tupua spokesperson Gerrard Albert.
Over the period of lockdown, Te Ranga Tupua Collective maintained constant communications with its iwi members and provided advocacy for the community across the ever-changing policy and legal environment of the pandemic emergency. This included advocating for greater numbers at funerals and tangi when Alert Level 2 was first announced. The negative impact of the hastily implemented Covid-19
Public Health Response Act, which gave Police and authorities increased powers to enter marae, papakāinga and houses without search warrants, was also addressed.
Albert says, “Before the law was passed, we moved to speak with local Police and authorities to secure an agreement that the new entry powers wouldn’t be exercised and those authorities would work through hapū and marae leadership if an issue ever arose.”
For the time being, Te Ranga Tupua continues to encourage the community to remain alert to the threat of COVID 19 in our community, ensuring that everyone remains vigilant.
Albert also expresses, “At this time I want to acknowledge on behalf of our iwi leadership the efforts of our kaimahi (workers) across the width and breadth of our iwi collective who did some amazing work over the past three months in an uncertain environment.
"Our kaimahi went above and beyond to ensure that the people were looked after, from manning the hub, to phoning kaumātua, working on housing, communications, supply, finance and welfare issues. We are truly grateful for their selfless efforts.”