While the nation continues efforts to stamp out the spread of coronavirus, Tūhoe elder Tame Iti says they are in an advanced position to self-isolate, turning to the land for their life source.
His stance on self-sustainability and independence is Iti's greatest tool against COVID-19.
"There is no other place but here, for when it comes to self-independence, the power of the word comes from the home people, they know what goes on here," Iti says.
Local Ruatoki marae, Te Māhurehure is preparing themselves for any potential virus risks.
"We have seen it spread from China to Europe, to France and also Spain. It is being talked about throughout the world so we should not be arrogant about what is going on."
As staunch as Iti is around tikanga, he will not be taking any risks this time around.
"If there was a death to come to the marae, they will stay at the entrance, they will be greeted from there, the speeches and everything else will be done as they stand at the entrance, then they will carry on to the cemetery."
He says decisions need to be made and the hapū must take care of their own.
"I think the power remains with the local people, we shouldn't wait for outsiders to tell us what to do and when to do it. We know what's going on, we have spoken to whānau and we have let them know what is going on and that there is a veggie garden here for them to use if they need to," Iti says.
On Saturday, the hapū will meet again to discuss any further matters.