.A group of around 20 nannies from Heretaunga marae met in December to launch a public health campaign "Nannies against Covid" at Matahiwi marae to increase Māori vaccinations among their whānau, hapū and iwi.
These nannies are not strangers to the limelight either. In 2017, they launched a campaign, "Nannies against P", which garnered national attention as they raised the awareness of the harms of methamphetamine on whānau.
The kaupapa of supporting whānau is the same, but the enemy is different.
Areta Te Huia, chair of Ngā Kairauhii Trust and Mihiroa marae representative says "we are very concerned that some of our whānau are still choosing not to be vaccinated against Covid, we just want to keep ourselves and our mokos safe".
"Nannies against Covid" illustrates the important role nannies play in influencing their own whānau and wider communities.
Lovey Edwards from Matahiwi marae commented, "me getting vaccinated had a direct influence on two of my mokopuna's getting vaccinated also. We can be the example." Matahiwi marae chairperson Darlene Carol said, "I took my 93-year-old mother to get vaccinated. I had no intention of getting it myself, however I thought if my mother is willing to do it, I should be too."
The nannies understand the many sensitivities around vaccination and how it can cause rifts amongst whānau and communities. "Most of my mokos have been vaccinated, but some still choose not to. We just love them all regardless" says Olive Aranui, Te Awhina marae representative.
Ngā Kairauhii Trust is the marae collective that has been the brains behind the nannies' work. The Trust is made up of representative from six marae, Mihiroa, Matahiwi, Omahu, Te Awhina, Runanga and Waimārama and is focused on supporting whānau wellbeing from a marae/ tikanga Māori lens. The Trust has been operating since the mid-90s with all of the Trustees over the years being nannies.
Waimārama marae representative Marama Tiakitai Hart says, "we want what's best for our mokopuna, so living long healthy lives is paramount".
Local Hastings District Councillor and Health Hawke's Bay Director, Bayden Barber has also been a keen supporter of the Trust's work over the years. "The nannies do a great job of just telling it how it is. Mum (Tiakitai Hart) is the pou in our whānau so when she says something, we all take notice."
Beverly Te Huia from Choices and Dale Moffat from Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga along with their staff were in attendance at the hui. Both organisations have been actively supporting marae during the Covid outbreaks.
Te Huia commented "an outbreak in any of our marae communities would be devastating, therefore we appreciate the leadership the nannies are showing. We fully support the kaupapa".
Each of the marae will be looking to run marae-based activities that support whānau wellbeing over the next few months.
Contact: Bayden Barber 021 570 011