Representatives from Northland hapū Patuharakeke are grateful the poor conditions at Covid testing stations have improved for local whānau.
Joanne Hammon and Luana Pirihi, hapū Covid response team members, visited the Ruakākā racecourse testing station at mid-morning yesterday after an emergency team meeting the night before.
At the meeting, Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis had assured them sufficient toilet facilities and water access would be available for whānau after there were many reports of people suffering in the heat as they waited up to 10 hours for a test on Monday.
However, when the pair arrived at the Ruakākā site, there were only three portaloos available, they were grouped together away from much of the roughly 200-car queue and they had no resources available to sanitise surfaces.
There was also no obvious place where people could source water.
"It's been very slack really," Hammon said at the time.
"There's no forward planning."
Pirihi echoed Hammon, stressing the importance of water and toilet facilities for whānau who had been waiting in their cars for hours.
Following their visit, numerous staff from Ngātiwai Trust Board arrived at testing stations in Whangārei, Ruakākā and Mangawhai with fresh fruit and water, sourced from New Zealand rugby legend Eric Rush's New World store in Regent.
Hammon said she was grateful for the assistance provided by Davis and the Ngātiwai Trust Board for recognising the need of whānau being tested.
However, Hammon did express concern about people being refused tests against Healthline advice, and that the long queues prohibited those who needed to be tested from doing so.
She referenced how her daughter, who had been in one of the stores at the same time as the latest Covid case, had avoided getting a test because she had three children and could not have them wait in the car for hours on end.
Hammon did confirm later in the day that her daughter was tested when the Ruakākā queue subsided in the afternoon.
Despite the obvious improvement yesterday, Hammon was still critical of how Patuharakeke hadn't been consulted before the Covid response had been rolled out.
"We expected Government to contact local hapū like ourselves and discuss because if this does get out of hand, our resources will be very limited."