August 24, 2020
Cavity caravan gets sharp response from Ngāpuhi
This is not a drill.
Ngāpuhi Rūnanga acting chief executive says addressing dental care is a priority for the northern iwi – but sending a caravan of dental workers in the middle of a pandemic lockdown isn’t the way to do it.
The caravan of trucks and camper vans, coordinated by west Auckland dentist Scott Waghorn, was turned around by police at the Te Hana checkpoint because it did not have the necessary permissions from the Ministry of Health.
Mr Napia says he heard about the caravan early last week and discussing with the organisers that the timing was not right, he was surprised to hear it had attempted to get through from Level 3 lockdown to a Level 2 area.
"In Te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi we have no COVID cases and we want to keep it that way. All our focus in Te Rūnanga a iwi o Ngāpuhi Group is to keep our people safe and agreeing with a hīkoi of caravans and dental workers coming out of Tāmaki, Alert Level 3, COVID status unknown of any of those personnel is just not sustainable and we didn’t support it," Mr Napia says.
The caravan would be welcome once COVID restrictions are lifted.
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