Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, our Taiwhenua, Hapū Settlement groups, government agencies, health providers, health organisations and our community groups have advocated that we will become the first fully vaccinated iwi, which is no easy task given the levels of hesitancy among many corners of our communities.
However, just as our Tipuna Kahungunu was an innovator and a leader of high intelligence, we expect all of his descendants to be innovative and of high intelligence, and on their own will and in time, will become 'fully vaccinated'.
Our Tipuna withstood mass destruction in the 1830s when confronted with the musket while pulling together and migrating to their maternal homeland of Te Mahia Okurarenga, now known as Kaiuku.
Rather than starve to death under massive siege, they survived on sucking clay and were able to reoccupy our lands from Wairoa to Wairarapa after the musket threat had been neutralised.
The current musket spread in our midst is Covid-19 and our clay sucking rongoa for survival is to become vaccinated so that we don't infect other whānau members or manuhiri/visitors to our marae, our whare and our kainga.
We can all do it!
We don't need to threaten or growl each other over it, but we should have proper conversations and proper communications with authentic information rather than being fed by doomers and gloomers.
Facing up to the kōrero and to the issue kanohi ki te kanohi and working shoulder to shoulder to encourage each other is not always easy but it's vital if we are to remain one of the most unique tribes in the world.
Every community will be asked how the iwi can support them to become fully vaccinated because there is not one single right answer, but in true Kahungunu spirit we have a whole kaleidoscope of answers that all must be given due regard.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen successful drive-through venues where whole whānau have become vaccinated and the same whānau have been supported with vege packs, kindling, sausage sizzle, hangi, hygiene packs and more.
There have been marae-based, community-based and isolated area based clinics. It's noticeable that our people turn up to these venues rather than to generic vaccination events.
So come on communities! Give us your ideas and let us unlock and unravel some of the mysteries and issues stopping our people from coming forward.
An example of an event idea is the Ngāti Kahungunu AGM Pā Sports which is usually attended by 5000 people who are mainly made up of hundreds of whānau. This year, we are looking to offer free entry to all those who are vaccinated.
You Can Do It!
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is pleased to be working shoulder to shoulder with our Taiwhenua, the Hapū Settlement groups, marae, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board, the Primary Health Organisations, local and regional councils, government agencies, health organisations and our groups in the community.
We admire and acknowledge everyone who is working in our communities to support healthy whānau, hapū and iwi.
Ngahiwi Tomoana is Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc chairman