Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tainui establishes quake base at Lincoln

Waikato-Tainui is establishing a camp on Ngai Tahu land near Lincoln University to coordinate its contributions to Christchurch earthquake relief.

Executive chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says as a major health provider in its own rohe, the iwi has the capacity to respond quickly to the disaster.

He says Tainui's tents, catering equipment and mobile clinics are on their way to the city.

“In the next day of so we will have medical teams on the ground and they will be a combination of doctors, nurses, trauma counselors. We are also bringing down a catering staff not only to feed our 50-strong team but also to prepare kai we will distribute out to whanau the community,” Mr Morgan says.

Tainui has more than 1200 registered members living in Christchurch, many in the hard-hit eastern suburbs.


Meanwhile, the manager coordinating Te Puni Kokiri's response in Christchurch says Maori who are keen to volunteer to help in the quake ravaged city need to go through formal channels.

Herewini te Koha says the clean-up will take months, and people will be needed to relieve those on the ground now.

He says the karanaga will eventually go out from Ngai Tahu.

“In the here and now, in the last five days say post the quake, the hard and fast realities are that people can come in but they are then confronted with the realties of safe accommodation, access to toilets and fresh water for drinking so every new body that is coming in is placing a strain on a broken infrastructure so being judicious about that or people coming largely self-sufficient is absolutely key,” Mr Te Koha says.


The Prime Minister says Maori providers will have an important long-term role to play looking after people who have been traumatised by the Christchurch earthquake.

John Key says he's impressed with the way Maori responded to the disaster, with marae quickly turned into emergency accommodation and money and goods flowing in from iwi around the country.

They are also providing comfort to grieving families from many cultures.

“The broader issues are going to be around people and the trauma of those who have seen people perish in front of them, those who have had their confidence shattered by the constant earthquakes and the fair there might be another one, all of those things are going to require a lot of support and I think you will see the iwi play an important role helping people through that giving them counseling and giving them support,” Mr Key says.


Broadcaster Derek Fox says resources are being misallocated in the Christchurch relief effort.

Mr Fox is in the city to report for the iwi radio network.

He says apart from the work needed to recover bodies and stabilise building in the central business district, more effort seems to be going in to clear silt from rich Pakeha suburbs that were only lightly damaged than to tackle people's immediate needs in the worst-hit areas.

“There is a real need out in the pohara suburbs, out in the eastern suburbs where the greatest damage was done in terms of affecting human life because there are people out there that are still without water, without sewerage, without kai, without transport, without petrol,” Mr Fox says.

He says relief efforts need to be door to door, because many Maori don't have power, phones or Internet connections to ask for help.


The head of Te Puni Kokiri's Christchurch relief team says it's important relief workers aren't allowed to burn out.

Herewini Te Koha says waves of professional and volunteer relief workers will be needed over the coming months.

He says the government, NGO and iwi groups co-ordinating the Maori response put support for local staff as a top priority.

“Our small team has been really stoic, like all Cantabrians. They didn’t leave the line. They were trying to balance the stress back home with trying to go about their jobs the best they could. We moved in very quickly to make sure we had enough cover to pull those guys away so they could turn their minds to family, their households, their loved ones and regroup and regather,” Mr Te Koha says.

A week after the quake, organisations are starting to send the first wave of outside relief workers back home for rest and respite.


Meanwhile, East Coast iwi Ngati Porou is looking a how it can bring its people back from Christchurch to give them a break from the aftershocks.

Chief executive Victor Walker says rather than send a team south immediately, the runanga has opened a cash appeal and set up drop-off points for non-perishable supplies in Gisborne and Ruatoria.

It's working closely with its Christchurch taura here, Ngati Porou ki Waitaha, to co-ordinate relief and offer a haven to its people.

“We've had a marvelous response from iwi kainga who have opened up their hearts, they homes and their marae and have invited any and all whanau to come home. They will be able to get some respite back with the whanau. We have already had whanau traveling back. They are really traumatised. They have lost their houses, they are injured, but thankfully they are able to get home safely,” Mr Walker says.

Radio Ngati Porou is holding a 24-hour radiothon tomorrow to raise funded for earthquake relief.


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