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A Kiwi family who has lost two family members to Covid-19 in as many weeks is struggling to comprehend such "significant losses".

Nigel Te Hiko, 54, died in Waikato Hospital yesterday, nearly two weeks after his brother Alan died in Auckland from the virus.

"We are absolutely devastated," nephew Chris McKenzie told the Herald. "Both people leave a huge gap in our family. It's hard to comprehend such significant losses so soon after each other."

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The deaths come as the World Health Organisation is set to announce a new record for the number of daily global cases.

According to Johns Hopkins University - which has been mapping virus cases across the world - there were more than 350,000 cases recorded across a 24-hour period earlier this week. This surpasses the earlier daily record of 308,000 cases, last weekend.

The number of cases is surging in India - it has had more than five million cases, second only to the United States' 6.6 million cases. Globally, there have been 29.6 million cases and 936,000 deaths.

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Tokoroa man Nigel Te Hiko was one of seven siblings and is survived by his whāngai daughter Gwen and 12-year-old moko Mahina-ā-rangi.

He was believed to have contracted Covid from Alan, who had worked at the Americold facility in Auckland.

"Despite the fact that Nigel did everything he could to ensure the safety of everyone else, he still succumbed. His message to everybody would be to follow the rules explicitly because this is a ferocious and deadly disease," McKenzie said.

He said the family were extremely grateful to Waikato District Health Board for doing what it could to allow loved ones to be near while he was in isolation in the Intensive Care Unit where he had been since August 26.

Nigel Te Hiko was a respected historian and negotiator at the Raukawa Settlement Trust. Photo / Supplied
Nigel Te Hiko was a respected historian and negotiator at the Raukawa Settlement Trust. Photo / Supplied

"We couldn't be in the room but we were able to be with him and sing songs and pray."

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Te Hiko was the 25th Covid-related death in New Zealand.

Today three people remained in hospital with Covid-19 - one in isolation in a ward and two in intensive care. There were 57 people in the Auckland quarantine facility linked to the community cluster - 27 of whom had tested positive for the virus.

There was one new case of Covid reported yesterday - a woman in her 30s who was in managed isolation after returning from Dubai.

Cousin Phyllis Tahere said Te Hiko was dad to all his nephews and nieces and koro to all his moko.

"Nigel was definitely a leader in the whānau. He rallied whānau together. One call from him and everybody would flock to him. He was a father figure to all our nephews and nieces; he was the one they would turn to when they needed advice. He held the family together.

Alan Te Hiko died of Covid-19 aged 58 years. photo / Supplied
Alan Te Hiko died of Covid-19 aged 58 years. photo / Supplied

"Some of our whānau, our young ones, are hard to manage, and Nigel did that too when required. He would be tough when he needed to.

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"It was because of his big heart, and his immense love. The door at our whānau homestead was always open, no matter what time of day or night. The door and Nigel's heart was always open."

Te Hiko worked for more than 20 years for his people, first at the then Raukawa Māori Trust Board, which would become the Raukawa Settlement trust.

He had a background in social work but developed his skills and expertise as a researcher and historian.

Raukawa chairwoman Vanessa Eparaima said he was a pou of support for her and the iwi.

"For Nigel, it is impossible not to acknowledge his immense skill and invaluable support for so many – how exceptional he was.

"Nigel was a Raukawa historian whose love for knowledge and passion for accumulating and increasing his and his tribe's shared history and mātauranga leaves a lasting legacy.

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"He was an incredibly humble man, he did not crave the limelight, and was an immense pou of support often in the background, supporting leaders with whaikōrero when required, history and advice, and with the ammunition of research and knowledge which was crucial to the conclusion of the Raukawa Treaty settlement negotiations."

Over the past few years he had been burdened with declining health and had issues with his kidneys.

Nigel Te Hiko died in Waikato Hospital nearly two weeks after his brother Alan died in Auckland from the virus. Photo / Supplied
Nigel Te Hiko died in Waikato Hospital nearly two weeks after his brother Alan died in Auckland from the virus. Photo / Supplied

"He has left immense shoes to fill for the iwi, but we are so grateful he has left so many words and writings, which will feed the minds and hearts of many of this generation and of those many who are to come," she said.

South Waikato deputy mayor and Tokoroa councillor Bill Machen said Te Hiko was a "fine member of the community".

"I had a lot of time for him. He was a gentleman and a fine fellow."

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said Te Hiko's family had a message for New Zealanders:

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"The man's whānau has asked us to tell the country that coronavirus is so real and to be vigilant and cautious," Bloomfield said.

"They have issued a plea to all New Zealanders: if you are sick and have symptoms, stay home and seek advice about getting a test."

Bloomfield said the man's death highlighted the seriousness of Covid-19 and said his thoughts were with Te Hiko's family.

"Ngāti Raukawa has lost a rangatira. They mourn the loss of their loved one.

"I can't imagine how devastating this is for this whānau."

Bloomfield yesterday said the health care worker who tested positive for Covid-19 had now been epidemiologically linked to one of the community cases at the quarantine facility. The person required hospitalisation and was assessed and assisted by the health care worker.

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There had been 85 close contacts identified from the three gym classes at Les Mills Takapuna and were all self-isolating, he said To date, 80 of those people returned a negative test result. Of the 195 casual contacts identified, 91 had been tested and returned a negative result.