Te Ranga Tupua Iwi Collective says it is actively working together to provide information and build preparedness and resilience in the Covid-19 environment.
The collective, which is made up of iwi within the Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu and South Taranaki regions, recently secured $2.8 million of government funding to ensure support for whānau in the region.
Te Ranga Tupua spokesman and Ngāti Rangi chairman Whetu Moataane said there were fears that it was only a matter of time before Covid-19 spread to their rohe.
"We need to ensure that our whānau are prepared for what this means so that we can care for and support each other when people start becoming sick," he said.
"Our major focus will be on increasing vaccinations as well as looking at how we plan for living with Covid - this includes isolation planning, testing regimes, and social service planning."
Te Ranga Tupua is proactively working with iwi providers, the community and the three District Health Boards in the area to determine what is needed for the people.
Operations lead Nancy Tuaine, chief executive of Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, said they would stand up another pandemic response effort in the coming weeks.
"When we shift to the traffic light framework and the country starts to open up – modelling tells us that it is Māori who will be inequitably impacted by this," Tuaine said.
"It is likely that our hospital system will be stretched in an outbreak and we want to support whānau to be prepared, which also means being able to look after ourselves at home."
Tuaine said the collective effort would include establishing mobile units, working with whānau to develop their plans, and exploring options for isolation facilities.
"We are urging our families to start having conversations as a whānau around how they will support each other's wellbeing in an outbreak.
"Now more than ever, we need to show each other kindness and work together for the betterment of whānau, hapū and iwi."