The hygiene products packed and distributed by Te Arawa Whānau Ora include disposable gloves, cleaning cloths, hand sanitiser, soap, toilet paper, tissues and surface cleaner.
“We’re pleased to be able to provide whānau with these packs to help keep them safe during this challenging time. The distribution of these packs supports the government’s health messages around people staying safe and well in their bubble,” says Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective’s hygiene pack co-ordinator Mapihi Raharuhi.
8500 hygiene packs are being delivered across the Waiariki region, with another 5,400 to be delivered over the next two weeks. Packs are being delivered across Rotorua, Te Kaha, Ōpōtiki, Whakatane, Tauranga, Taupō and Tūrangi.
Priority is being given to whānau living with a medical condition that may compromise their immune system making them more susceptible to COVID-19, such as cancer, asthma, and respiratory illness; essential workers; and those living in substandard housing conditions.
“I continue to be amazed by the support we’ve received from people in our community who volunteer their time – working extended hours – to ensure our high-needs whānau are being given these essential packs. We absolutely value and appreciate their efforts,” says Mapihi.
Six DOC staff stepped in to support the initiative with packing and preparation, alongside Sports Bay of Plenty representatives.
“Whānau Ora’s people have been amazing hosts and made the safety and wellbeing of their volunteers the highest priority,” says DOC Supervisor Caraline Abbott.
“Each box has been marked with a number that can be traced back to the person who packed the box, and we sanitise between each box. More than 8500 boxes have been packed so far.”
Workers involved in the Whānau Ora led initiative have completed infection control training with Te Arawa Whānau Ora’s CEO Lorraine Hetaraka who is a registered nurse and been certified as essential workers by Lakes District Health Board
Whānau Direct funding is available for any whānau in the Te Arawa rohe whanau experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Call 0508 Te Arawa (0508 832 7292) to apply.
Te Arawa Whānau Ora Charitable Trust was formalised in 2013 and includes seven collective members, focused on supporting improved health outcomes in a kaupapa Māori context.