March 29, 2020
Urupa reminder of pandemic threat
A coordinator of Te Whānau ā Apanui’s border control efforts says community safety is the watchword for the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi.
Patrols at either end of the rohe have been giving motorists COVID-19 safety messages and telling them to either turn back or drive on through and not risk transmission of the virus to locals.
Willy Te Aho says police have been on hand to make sure peace is maintained.
He says the iwi has at least 200 pakeke who need protection, as well as 100 or so residents with compromised immunity and there is also a reminder from the past for why caution is needed.
"In my urupā at Raukokore there's a tombstone that rises above all the others and in that tomb are 38 people killed when the Spanish flu came in our area in 1918. We've seen it in the past. Our people thought it wouldn't reach them and it did and it devastated a quarter of our population," Mr Te Aho says.
At the marae level, hapū are co-ordinating grocery shopping for everyone, and there is also hunting and fishing for community needs.
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