An iwi group has been delivering food in the eastern Bay of Islands where a kaumatua says the Covid-19 lockdown has compounded existing transport and poverty issues.

Te Rūnanga o Taumārere ki Rakaumangamanga — an iwi group which covers Waikare, Te Rawhiti and Kororāreka in the eastern Bay of Islands — delivered 120 kai packs to vulnerable families in the area, assisted by Northland MP Matt King.

Kaumatua Kara George said many local residents were beneficiaries or, until the virus shut down tourism and hospitality, had casual jobs in Russell.

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They lived from week to week and had been hard hit when supermarkets ditched specials earlier in the lockdown.

''People were finding their grocery bills jumping from around $120 to $200,'' George said.

Initially the rūnanga had struggled to secure a bulk food supply.

''Money wasn't the issue — we could pay for it ourselves — but we're just a small organisation and couldn't get a supplier, so we put our feelers out to try and get some help.'' The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

King heard their call for help, used his contacts to enlist a wholesale supply, and arranged a truck to deliver food and other essentials to Waikare Marae last Friday.

There volunteers made up kai packs for 120 whānau in the Waikare and Te Rawhiti areas, which were delivered with minimal contact at people's gates.

Earlier in the Covid-19 crisis the rūnanga had compiled a database of everyone who lived in the area to make sure outsiders didn't arrive during the lockdown. That database had come in useful for determining where kai packs were needed, George said.

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