Te Arawa Comes Together for COVID-19 Response
A new Te Arawa Hub has been formed to co-ordinate and combine resources and provide support to its whānau across Rotorua and the wider rohe.
The Hub includes more than 20 different hapu, trusts, health providers and more, including Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Te Arawa Whanau Ora, Lakes DHB, Rotorua Lakes Council, TPK and others.
The team are co-ordinating a wide range of activities, including the development and distribution of hygiene packs, support to apply for funding, securing kai parcels and the distribution of accurate information that has been tailored for Te Arawa whānau.
The hub also links to valuable research being conducted by the iwi, including a comprehensive mapping project that shows where people of different ages and needs are living throughout the community.
Te Arawa Kaumatua Tā Toby Curtis says it is the first time the iwi has come together in such a co-ordinated and comprehensive way in order to support whānau through the challenges of COVID-19.
“In times of trouble, people have many questions and they turn to those they trust for answers, help and support. Anō ko te marama kua ngaro, kua ara anō. This is about helping our people rise through adversity,” says Tā Toby.
“We have faced serious troubles and overcome adversity in the past, and no doubt we will again. But this current situation will likely be the most serious in living memory for many of our people – and it is significantly impacting large numbers of whānau as a result.”
Tā Toby says Rotorua has been hit particularly hard by the economic impact of the virus and its necessary response, with many whānau losing employment in the tourism and forestry sectors.
“It’s critical that we support all of our whānau during this time. As Te Arawa we are famous for our manaakitanga, but now we need to demonstrate our care for each other in a different way.
“We have been called upon to look after our kaumātua, whānau who are māuiui or hapū, and other people who may be vulnerable.
“It is not natural or normal for our people to be isolated from one another, or to be prevented from showing physical support or aroha. But this is not a natural or normal situation, and our nationwide efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Aotearoa and our people will take an extraordinary effort from all of us.
“The Te Arawa Hub has developed to help support that effort. A lot of hard mahi has gone into it, in a very short period of time, and it will continue for as long as it takes to help our people and communities through this crisis.
“We have people who are worried, we have people who are struggling, and we say to them: we are here to help - lean on us, hoea te waka ki uta ra.”
The Hub is collating information on a new website www.tearawacovid19.nz with all the latest information being distributed via the TeArawa-COVID19 Facebook page. People can connect with the team via the Facebook page, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org