COVID-19

RĀHUI PUT IN PLACE TO PROTECT PEOPLE, NOT PENALISE PEOPLE

MEDIA STATEMENT

Friday, 1 May 2020

RĀHUI PUT IN PLACE TO PROTECT PEOPLE, NOT PENALISE PEOPLE

The Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board has come out in support of hapū, Ngāti Tūtemohuta, and their efforts to protect their vulnerable people through the placement of a rāhui around their settlement at Waitahanui, on the shores of Lake Taupō.

The rāhui, a temporary restriction on normal activities, was deemed essential by the hāpu at the outset of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

“The people of Ngāti Tūtemohuta have shown wisdom in ”going early and going hard“, to use the Prime Minister’s words, to take steps to protect their families and the Waitahanui community,” said Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board Chairman, John Bishara.

“We understand the desire of some to go fishing during Alert Level 3, but that needs to be balanced against the risk to Ngāti Tūtemohuta of their kaumātua being exposed to people fishing from their back doorstep.  Most New Zealanders do not have to contend with that issue

Fortunately, this is a temporary situation and there are other fishing spots available around the lake that don’t pose such a level of risk.”

“As authorities and governments around the world encourage people to look after themselves, the Trust Board’s view is that Ngāti Tūtemohuta’s actions are a responsible exercise of kaitiakitanga.  The hāpu has acted prudently with the best interests of the people at heart.”

Trust Board member, Ngahere Wall, who is also a member of Ngāti Tūtemohuta, said more than 120 families live in the area.  We have a large number of kaumātua.  They sit in the highest ‘at risk’ category of coming to serious harm if they to become infected with COVID-19.

“Ngāti Tūtemohuta are not the only ones who are looking after their neighborhood. Others in Tūwharetoa and other iwi, and communities throughout Aotearoa, have collaborated together to restrict public activities and access, for the good of all.

People need to be mindful that we are still in the midst of a serious global pandemic which can change course and inflict serious harm, without notice.

The least of our worries at this time should be a rāhui.  It exists to help protect people – not penalise people.”

ENDS.

[Image credit: Te Ao Maori News, Maori Television]