Whānau Ora: Kei konei mātou ki te tautoko i a koe/We are here to support you
Published 26 April 2022
From the very beginning of the pandemic, the impact of COVID is most pronounced in Tāmaki Makaurau and in areas in the region with the highest Māori populations. Studies show during the lockdowns, Māori financial stability was one of the worst affected; kai insecurity disproportionately affected Māori women; and social isolation hit Māori whānau hard due to the inability to practice tikanga and being cut off from other whānau; and Māori has one of the highest rates of COVID cases.
A lot more mahi is needed to examine the experiences of tāngata whaikaha Māori during the pandemic. However, our outreach initiative to the people we support during the early days of lockdown showed that tāngata whaikaha faced similar issues, existing support systems completely fell over for whānau, and that many were in urgent need of COVID-related assistance.
This started our important partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) last year and enabled us to provide much needed urgent relief to tāngata whaikaha and whānau to access essentials like kai (food), kākahu (clothes), vaccination support and other wellbeing assistance. We feel honoured that we can continue our partnership with TPK, and this time, scale up our efforts in providing holistic support for tāngata whaikaha Māori through our Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund.
This key funding enables us to reach out to all tāngata whaikaha Māori, take the time to whakawhanaungatanga with people, draw on our rich 20-year experience in the disability sector to fill in non-DSS gaps that were heightened or created by the pandemic, and be creative in developing ways to support people.
Over the next few months, we will also provide whānau-centred support for tāngata whaikaha Māori who are isolating, continue to support people to access vaccines, signpost supports in the community that are otherwise unknown or unexplored, and act as a tūhono (connectors) where people have difficulties accessing services.
All of these, including the integral DSS mahi we continue to provide, are building blocks to help develop resilience of tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau. Watch this space for stories about the lives we’ve touched through Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund.