25 Nov 2021


Tena tatau Ngati Porou. Tangihia o tatau mate, okioki atu ratau ki te po. Tatau nga mahuetanga iho a ratau ma e pupuri nei i te ha o o tatau matua tipuna. Whitiki! Kia Mataara! Kia oho! Whakaahurutia o tatau marae kainga, o tatau hapori, whakapumautia nga kawai tangata. Tihei Mauri ora.

Ngati Porou are daring and adventurous in the tradition of our tipuna Maui Tikitiki. We have spread far and wide, across Aotearoa and the world, in pursuit of opportunities and endeavours that contribute to our wellbeing and prosperity. This letter is addressed to all our Ngati Porou whanau who live away from home.

I know that travelling home for Christmas and New Year is the highlight of the year for many of us. It is a time to catch up with whanau, parents, siblings, children, aunties and uncles, cousins, our Pakeke, new additions to the whanau, and old friends. It is a time to enjoy our special parts of paradise and to reconnect with our hapu and marae. It is a time to download, de-stress, and have a well deserved holiday. “E hoki koe ki o maunga, ki o awa kia puehutia e nga hau o Tawhirimatea”

Unfortunately, the hospitality and beauty of home during the holiday period masks a poor reality for our hau kaenga year-round. The reality is that our region, and our people, have some of the worst health, well-being, and social statistics in Aotearoa. We also have one of the lowest Covid-19 vaccination rates across all of Aotearoa’s DHBs. There are many people working long hours, doing the best they can, to turn-around those statistics, but it will take time to reverse a situation caused by deep-seated and long-standing inequities.

Our region’s health services struggle to service our people as it is now, without the very real threat of Covid-19. It is not an exaggeration to say that health services will be overwhelmed when Covid-19 arrives in our region. Ngati Porou people will be at the worst end of that struggle; some of us will become seriously ill and some of us may die.

I am therefore asking you to think carefully about your plans for the holiday period. If you want to come home to Ngati Porou, please consider the health and wellbeing of your whanau back here. Please consider how you would feel if you brought Covid-19 on holiday with you. Please remember that our region’s services will struggle to look after you and your whanau if you become unwell.

However, if you must come home, please be double-vaccinated and ensure you have a copy of your vaccine pass. Please consider having a Covid-19 test before you leave and think about limiting your movements for a short time when you arrive in Te Tairawhiti. We will all be safer if you are able to do these things, and we would love to see you home, safely.

If you are unable to do these things, for whatever reason, please be less adventurous and consider staying where you are for the time being. We will gladly welcome you home again when the time is safe for all of us.

Meri kirihimete me te Hape Nuia, kia tau te ia o te Mauri ki a tatau katoa.

Selwyn Parata Tiamana o Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou
Porou Ariki, 195 Wainui Rd, Gisborne 4010 | 06 867 9960