|Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou katoa,
On behalf of the board I’d like to acknowledge all of our whānau at this crazy time in our history for pulling together, sacrificing your freedoms, watching out for one another and committing to the national effort to eradicate Coronavirus.
We will never forget this moment where we each created our whānau bubble, our kaumātua were put into careful isolation for weeks, our whānau nominated their shoppers, our people lost jobs, and others whose jobs were suddenly elevated to essential services. Where our tamariki were taken out of schools and kōhanga and asked to learn in another way. Our homes became classrooms, restaurants, offices, and places of solace and refuge. We hunkered down together in our homes to play games, cook, read, and connect online. We seldom ventured out to for exercise or take the dog for a walk. All the time we lived with a sense of fear, fed by the images we were seeing from countries abroad overwhelmed by the virus and the speed of its spread. We scorned those that broke the rules because we cherished our lives above all else. Above all, we took on the mantra from our Prime Minister to be kind to one another.
Over time our fear started to drip away as Aotearoa slowly began to flatten and then crush that curve and as we gingerly emerged into level 3 then level 2 of the lockdown. We praised our leaders, we cheered for the iwi who locked down their rohe, we thanked those who isolated and quarantined, we celebrated each day that had zero case. Again, thank you to all for your part in this but the job is not done yet.
During these times our iwi workers and leaders, like all others across the motu, rose to the challenge. We stood firm, determined this would not be a Pandemic disaster for our people. Determined that we would not lose one life. Determined that our goal was to get through this until a vaccine was available for everyone. Certain that we as a people would not be forgotten about or last on the list. We championed for attention for our most vulnerable and our most valuable.
We put aside our differences as providers, as iwi regardless of status, place or position and put whānau first, our neighbours and our country. Our kaimahi volunteered to go into the breach, to connect with whānau, to deliver care packages and hygiene packs. We promoted the flu vax and ran mobile set ups in Tamaki and Wairarapa for whānau. We worked with the Police and our Funeral Directors to have contingency plans in place if any of our whānau passed away. We changed our tikanga practices, we closed our marae, we put our tikanga and religious leaders into lockdown fearful as they are the ones we would struggle without the most. We ensured that throughout this time we were in communication with you and that you knew what we knew.
So here we are at Level 2, out the other side and hopeful about our future. It will take some time for us to truly understand what just happened and what it meant for all of us. How it has affected us. How we want our world to be from now on. Many are talking about a recovery plan but Māori are talking about a reset. A chance to have a different world, not so reliant on the rat race, fast-food, money, money, money and a life that is disconnected and unkind.
So, this is our challenge whānau, to take our iwi forward. To ask our whānau what is the future that we want? To challenge the status quo and to reach for the things that matter to us most.
We need to ensure that everyone is ok; take the time to talk to our kaumātua whowere in self-isolation, ensure that we are healthy and that our medical needs are met. We need to look out for our mental wellbeing more than ever, as for many of us, this is the biggest shock we have been witness to and it is not over yet.
The Pandemic has raised questions around what a secure job is. The tourism and hospitality industries have taken the biggest hits and we are at a time to rethink our vocation and whether we should retrain in something else. Opportunities are quickly opening, and we need to ensure that you know what these are.
Our Trust wanted you to know that we are very focussed on this reset and that we are committed to making sure we can do our best for you. In the meantime, continue to wash your hands, keep up the physical distancing, cough into your elbow, stay home if you are sick and be kind.
He waka eke noa – we are all in this together.
Chairperson Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust