Tairāwhiti Māori Wardens support during Covid-19 pandemic

Like most Māori Wardens across the motu, Tairāwhiti mobilised together to see what support they could provide during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published: Thursday, 7 May 2020 | Rāpare, 07 Haratua, 2020

Marama Apelu says that it was about planning and making sure that we could provide a safe environment for our wardens to work in.

“In full lock down, we asked our Wātene to stop working until we had a plan in place that would guarantee wardens health and safety,” she says.

“We kicked off our communications strategy so that we would be able to keep in touch with each other, assess the needs of our community and plan for our re-entry back into the community.

“Our health and safety plan included, no Wātene aged 70 years to be working, personal protective equipment must be worn those eligible to work must have passed a health check and/or flu immunisation.”

Wardens have been called upon over the past six weeks and have worked primarily with their immediate communities to help deliver food and essential services alongside local organisations, Rūnanga and Iwi.

Apelu says that its been a collaborative effort.

“We’ve resourced road signs, cones, hi viz gear, wet jackets and radios for the entire east-cape area of Te Araroa, Tikitiki, Ruatōria and Uawa,” she says. 

“While there were other areas that we needed to provide resources in Wharerata, Manutuke and Tiniroto/Patutahi communities.

“It’s been a collaborative effort as we stood alongside our Iwi as they found solutions needed to solve issues confronting our communities. And they have done so magnificently!”

One of the more contentious issues has been around the community-led cordons that have been introduced around the East Coast region.

“We’ve actively supported our Iwi to drive their solutions and one of the partnerships that has been working well has been with the police, and much of that has been down to the relationships and it is working well,” she says.

We also congratulate Owen Lloyd (Ngā Ariki Kaipūtahi) on his appointment as Kaumātua-Advisor to the Gisborne police.