A range of koeke, pakeke and rangatahi have made their way through the COVID-19 testing pop-up here at Tāheke Marae.
More than 40 cars including the Wallace-Ihakara sisters Rangimiria, Te Kahu and Te Tuhi made the journey to Ōkere Falls feeling anxious, but encouraged as many whānau as possible to get tested.
They say, “Manawarau, ahakoa tēnei kōrero, kei kōnei mātou,” – “Feeling uneasy, but besides this we are grateful to be here.”
Korowai Aroha CE Hariata Vercoe says, “I think the whānau will feel more reassured. The sense we’ve gotten from our Māori communities is that they are anxious and they want to be seen in a familiar setting. They do not want to be part of the mass swabbing that’s currently happening. They can come to a familiar setting and it’s a better experience for them.”
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao Chair Mapihi Raharuhi says, “Having these kinds of testing stations on Marae alleviate fear, decreases anxiety but most importantly highlights the importance of being vigilant around COVID-19. Our people are familiar with the surroundings of the Marae. There are familiar faces that walk them through the process of being tested. Fundamentally, it is about maintaining our whakapapa and keeping our people safe.”
Te Puna Ora o Mataatua have been running these mobile-testing units for COVID-19 since the nation went into Alert Level 4 Lockdown earlier this year.
“It’s such a safe and secure environment, it’s a known environment and it’s great that Te Puna Ora o Mataatua have come over so we can learn off them and how it’s been developed.”
These are DRIVE-THRU ONLY clinics and to give you an idea of how this will work please read Assessments & Testing by Te Puna Ora o Mataatua.
Testing is for anyone showing flu-like symptoms or who has been to the locations for the COVID-19 Positive whānau previously shared.
He mihi tēnei ki ngā Marae o Tāheke me Waitetī, Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, Te Rōpū Hauora o Te Arawa, Lakes District Health Board, Korowai Aroha, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao, Healthy Families Rotorua, Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.
Nau mai haere mai, testing will start again tomorrow 10am at Waitetī.
For more please watch TVNZ’s Te Karere and Te Ao Māori News.