February 23, 2023
Iwi seek emergency first responder status
Māori health and social service leaders in areas hard hit by Cyclone Gabrielle are keen to see a Māori Civil defence network to be set up.
The idea was canvassed last night on Radio Waatea talkback by Waipareira head John Tamihere with leaders from Kaipara iwi Ngāti Whātua, Tūranga Health, Ngāti Porou Hauora and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.
Boyd Broughton, the director of health for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, says iwi faced significant barriers when Cyclone Gabrielle struck their rohe.
He says they responded as fast as they could to reach whānau who had lost power and connectivity, including people needing dialysis, but there were blind spots because they didn’t have access to the data and resources provided to civil defence and emergency management.
“We have some ideas about how we can put ourselves up as the first responders without having to wait for them and that’s what we do anyway but we also need that resource and that enablement and that access to the different technologies that they get without the barriers,” Mr Broughton says.
He says in emergencies Māori providers and marae end up helping all members of the community, Māori and non-Māori alike.