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By Wairoa for Wairoa COVID planning

2021 12 02

A ‘By Wairoa for Wairoa’ approach to COVID pandemic planning is being used as a benchmark by Hawke’s Bay Councils.


The Wairoa-led response has been collated by Chairman of Ngati Kahungunu Wairoa Taiwhenua Incorporated Nigel How, working in collaboration with Wairoa District Council, local iwi and health and social service organisations.


Mr How will present the Wairoa Pandemic plan to the Māori Standing Committee on Thursday December 2. He says the cornerstone of the plan is for the Wairoa District, as a community, to be prepared to take care of each other when the virus arrives.


“In terms of a major outbreak, the majority of COVID care will take place from home. Even if Wairoa was to reach 90% full vaccination, that could still leave 700 unvaccinated community members of who 140 may become very sick in a major outbreak and 14 people could die.


“We are not trying to scaremonger; we are simply urging people to be as prepared as they possibly can.”


The Wairoa community has been collaboratively working to support Wairoa’s wellness since New Zealand first responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year.


Community organisations, in conjunction with local social and health service providers, local government, local iwi entities and agencies have been working together preparing plans around vaccination acceleration and COVID preparedness.


“We need to be realistic, we have limited services at our local hospital and we are two hours away from the Hastings base hospital. We have one GP clinic, one supermarket and one chemist so we are vulnerable.


“Our preparedness needs to be appropriately tailored to our Wairoa district, our whānau and our communities. We need to ensure our response suits our various Wairoa communities and our specific needs, such as isolation, vastness of district and vaccination rates are all part of our response.


“Whānau need to be prepared with plans in place to take care of themselves and their loved ones for when COVID arrives in Wairoa. They need to talk about how they will support each other and what they need in their homes for when COVID-19 gets to Wairoa. We encourage whānau to make sure you have access to plenty of kai and medical, baby, hygiene and cleaning supplies for a longer period of time than usual.”


Mayor Craig Little praised the proactive community-led pandemic plan and vaccination response.


“The recent Super Saturday saw more people roll up their sleeves and get either their first or second vaccination. I take my hat off to everyone in the community, particularly the health workers, who are working tirelessly to protect our people.


“Also, a big shout out to the sponsors, Kahungunu Executive, Wairoa Young Achievers Trust, Adara, REAP, Wairoa District Council, Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae, Enabled, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Affco Wairoa, Wairoa Police and Wairoa Taiwhenua. Your contributions are all going towards protecting our community and I know our people appreciate your involvement. It was great to see Affco, our largest employer giving back to the community with free products and the very popular barbecue.


“As the Auckland border opens we know there will be more risk of COVID spread in our community. People are encouraged to protect themselves and their whānau by becoming double vaccinated.


“We know theCOVID-19 Delta variant is moving closer to Wairoa and we need to protect our vulnerable people. Our priority is keeping our whānau safe and we will do everything we possibly can to protect our district and our people from COVID-19.


“We cannot control COVID, but we can plan to minimise its impact.

“Follow the Red Traffic Light guidelines, regularly wash your hands, sanitise, wear your mask, use the tracer app and follow social distancing guidelines.

“It is also important people source their information from reliable and genuine sources. There is a lot of misinformation being spread and I urge everyone to do their research and ensure their information is accurate.”

2 December 2021

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