‘Scared as’ Hauraki iwi on high alert as New Zealand enters the traffic light system – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: December 3, 2021 at 5:02 am

A Hauraki iwi is nervous for its unvaccinated whnau as the lights of the new Covid-19 management system switch on.

Mori leaders have seen two close calls with Covid-19 cases in Hauraki, but with the move to the traffic light system at 11.59pm on Thursday, plans are being put in place to handle an outbreak.

Ngti Hei kaumtua Joe Davis said he was worried about the community and the pressure that Covid cases will place on health providers as the ability to keep Covid-19 out of the area becomes unrealistic.

Tom Lee/Stuff

Typical holiday traffic in Tairua the Hauraki region has long been a popular summer holiday spot.

Were absolutely scared as s..., and, if positive tests come back, what if we have to lock them all in here?

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Kelly Hodel/Stuff

Ngti Hei kaumtua Joe Davis is concerned about how unvaccinated whnau will cope as thousands visit Hauraki.

The iwi, theyre all on high alert. If youve got a cold, just stay home, its the least you can do.

The Hauraki region hosts more than 200,000 visitors over the holiday period, boosting its population tenfold over two months.

Thousands of people pack into campsites and, with Mori vaccination rates at a lower level than the general population, Davis was concerned the worst was yet to come.

It only takes one person to blow it apart, and its just around the corner. The statistics for Hauraki Mori are not good.

Around Whitianga we have a lot of artists, alternative lifestyles and anti-establishment, they have their rights. We have that dynamic, so that doesnt help.

Davis said the local GPs, Waikato District Health Board, public health organisations and Mori health providers were doing what they could to prepare for the swarm, but visitors needed to take responsibility for the consequences of their holiday travel.

With the borders going down, I dont know whats going to happen.

[Health providers] wont have the capacity or the capability. It will be a state of emergency.

In August, Coromandel residents set up a makeshift barricade at Manaia Bridge protect locals from visitors during alert level 4.

Davis said its possible roadblocks may be used again to close off the area by those who didnt want people to visit.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Locals set up a roadblock just out of Coromandel stopping people coming in and out in August.

But Mori health provider Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki chief executive Riana Manuel said that was before their vaccination numbers had risen, and the traffic light system had been developed to protect the unvaccinated.

Manuels staff were preparing as they always do to support the influx of visitors, but she knew there were added complexities with Covid-19 this year.

Everybody, vaccinated or unvaccinated, you must make a clear plan for how you are going to move around, and you must be responsible about your choices for you and your whnau.

Supplied

Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki chief executive Riana Manuel says health providers are preparing for an influx of visitors.

Understand where youre coming to theres one way in and one way out and there are limited services and infrastructure here.

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The coastal townships of Hauraki were wonderful places to holiday, Manuel said, but visitors needed to take extra precautions.

Any symptom is a symptom, dont just assume its a head cold, just get a test.

Manuel urged visitors to be prepared if they tested positive for Covid-19 and be mindful of the resources they had on their trip and at home if they needed to isolate.

Whether it was food or health supplies, make sure those items were readily available in the home and in the car, Manuel said.

Have a plan for how you will return home and, at home, make sure you have all the gear you need.

Excerpt from:

'Scared as' Hauraki iwi on high alert as New Zealand enters the traffic light system - Stuff.co.nz

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