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Kei aku rangatira, tēnā koutou,

With the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continuing to spread globally and the possibility for it to spread within Aotearoa, Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa have been working through our responsibilities as an organisation to ensure we do our best to mitigate further impacts for our kaimahi and our whānau.

Our Approach – Ngā Mātāpono

Our priority is to be prepared to ensure we protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our kaimahi and whānau, with a particular focus on our most vulnerable.

In this time of uncertainty around travel and the movement of people across different domains, our priority is to ensure that our people remain as close to home/ whanau as possible.  This is especially important in the event that further travel restrictions are imposed.

While the MoH/WHO advice continues to state that our chance of a widespread community outbreak remains low, we are serious about our responsibility to take early preventative action to protect the most vulnerable in our community. We will continue to monitor key local, regional and national advice, adapt and act accordingly

Some protocols and guidelines are set out below;

Protect Yourself and Others

Protect yourself and others to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 as per the MoH guidelines as follows:

  • Do not go to work or school if you feel unwell or are showing ‘flu’ like symptoms – please stay home.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
  • Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds)
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. 

Supporting Vulnerable Members of the Whānau

  • In the event that a whanau member is required to self-isolate or is particularly vulnerable in this situation (e.g. underlying health issue, compromised immune system), please check in with them to ensure they have the supplies and support they need.

Social Distancing / Physical Contact / Hongi

  • Physical contact has been identified by the MoH as having the potential to increase the risk of spreading COVID-19, as such they recommend any unnecessary contact should be avoided if possible.  
  • Culturally for Te Atiawa, restricting hongi is a significant step to take and not taken lightly.  However, it does and can happen for very practical reasons e.g. the wellbeing of people. The purpose of hongi is to be of one breath and be of one mind. While this tends to happen through a physical connection, the feeling is often more of a spiritual connection. In saying that, a spiritual connection can be effected without physical contact.
  • In light of this, Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa supports MoH’s advice to limit any unnecessary close physical contact.  Therefore, we will place an immediate hold on our cultural practice of hongi, including personal contact, such as handshaking, kissing, hugging and sharing cups or food. 
  • We will liaise with our manuhiri to inform them of our physical precautions and restrictions to avoid any offence being caused and will display notices on our sites. 
  • We will also work with our hapū to ensure that the activities we carry out on Marae, are reconciled with our hapū and Marae kaitiaki.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Events

  • ​In light of the risk associated with carrying out social and cultural activities, it is our firm view that Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa should not be holding any events until at least, the end of April 2020. 
    • Te Riri me te Raukura commemorations scheduled for 16 – 19 March 2020
    • Te Kaumatua Wānanga scheduled for 2 April 2020
  • We will endeavour to reschedule our cancelled events. Any rescheduling will be subject to ongoing to official advice. We will notify our membership accordingly.

This is an important time for all of us to keep up communication.  Please make contact with the office in the first instance if you have any concerns or questions.  We are monitoring the situation very closely and will update our protocols, guidelines and communications as the situation evolves. 

Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Ngā manaakitanga ki runga i a koutou 

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