Whānau Māori share the difficulties of self-isolating - Covid-19

By Aroha Mane

As Coronavirus emergency measures put more whānau into self-isolation, it is natural that fear, anxiety, apprehension and panic would set in.

Te Ao Māori News made contact with three Māori whānau impacted by isolation.

Anya Tahere and her partner returned from a wedding in Rarotonga on Wednesday. The whānau has a history with influenza, so naturally, the couple took precautions and wore facial masks but they weren't ready for what was about to happen.

Tahere explains their strange encounter with Cook Islands customs.

“When we got to customs my husband was asked to remove his mask and at the time full of anxiety.

“We also have a history in our whānau with influenza.

“So he politely declined to take off his mask and rather than be met with some understanding, we were basically pulled aside by an abruptly and rude customs officer.”

The customs officer was trying to confirm the identity of Tahere's husband.

Kim Herewini returns to the country from Brisbane on Sunday. She had flown there to look after her brother, who is stricken with cancer.

However because of her large whānau, self-isolating in the house is too dangerous, so she's looking at an alternative housing option.

“At the moment my plan to self-isolate in Aotearoa means I'm looking at getting a cabin on my property because I need to protect my family,” Herewini says.

Joey Rapana recently returned from Bali a week ago and has self-isolated at his home in Taumata Mākūkū. He has grave concerns for those who don't have an internet connection.

“My main concern would be for people that live in rural areas that don't have easy access to phone coverage, internet, food and things like that.

“Their first port of call is by people contacting them and physically going to them,” Rapana says.

Although it may not apply for those out of coverage, those in isolation will benefit from the unlimited data options recently announced by select NZ Telecommunication companies.