New Covid-19 protocols under the traffic light system are much like tikanga practices of old, says the chair of Wairoa Taiwhenua.
As Hawke's Bay wakes up to the new traffic light system and life at orange, Wairoa District to the north of the region will find itself alone in red.
Māori make up the majority of those who are not vaccinated against Covid-19, one of the main reasons the district remains at red - of the 1500 yet to get their first vaccine in Wairoa District, 1200 are Māori.
Wairoa Taiwhenua chairman Nigel How said his primary concern for those who were still not vaccinated was Māori health disparities and inequities that had built over successive generations, as it meant their risk of suffering badly from Covid-19 was high.
He felt the traffic light system was designed to protect everyone in their community, regardless of vaccination status.
"The traffic light system is an informed health measure to ensure that everybody is looked after."
When it comes to marae protocol under the new system, he said it was still in discussion at marae level, based on the government health protocols.
"In my experience, most people will be understanding of health protocols because they are there to keep everyone safe from Covid-19.
"Why we don't sit on tables is a tikanga developed to stop the spread of germs, so the new protocols extend on these old, practical, common-sense approaches to daily life."
He said each was independent and self-governing, though the taiwhenua was supporting each of its 37 marae in their own decision making.
"My own marae, Iwitea, has already developed tangihanga operational plans for both unvaccinated and vaccinated whānau.
"We have done this as our first loved one to pass will arrive at our marae on Friday."
These plans were being shared with other marae in the district as a guide for what they could develop for themselves.
How said there was no reason for those not vaccinated to feel isolated or cut off from services they require to live their daily lives in the traffic light system.
"All essential services, including grocery shopping and buying petrol, remain open to unvaccinated people."
There was a network of local social service providers and community groups working very hard on vaccination acceleration, he said.
"If we all follow the health protocols, together we have a good chance of suppressing the virus.
"This will require continued diligence and teamwork, in thinking of doing what is best for those around us is also best for ourselves."
Wairoa District council chief executive Kitea Tipuna said keeping everyone in the district safe, including summer visitors, was their top priority.
"The red traffic light system will place greater restrictions around the numbers of people able to gather at any one time and limitations for people who do not have a vaccine pass.
"Most public events were already on hold or cancelled based on the Government's level 2 restrictions."
Morere Hot Springs north of the township, posted to social media saying they would be temporarily closed from December 3, due to the Department of Conservation's Covid-19 management policy - a further update was expected on December 17.
Covid-19 testing in Hawke's Bay
Under the traffic light system, Hawke's Bay Hospital's Emergency Department will continue to have a strict no visitor or support person policy in place.
Discretion would be applied for children and people who had special care needs or disabilities.
In other hospital areas, including the intensive care unit and rural facilities, only one visitor will be allowed during visiting hours between 1-8pm. More than one person can visit during the day, but each person can only visit once a day.
Chief operating officer Chris Ash said the DHB's policy had proven to be effective in keeping patients and visitors safe while at hospital or its health centre facilities.
"Safety of our patients is paramount which is why it is vitally important no one who is unwell visits family or friends in hospital," he said.
All visitors are required to sign in and wear a mask.
Those coming to a DHB facility for an outpatient, radiology, or laboratory appointment, they should come alone, unless advised to bring someone with them.
Visitors should follow social distancing rules and make sure their hands are thoroughly washed or cleaned with hand sanitiser before and after visiting.
The DHB continues to urge anyone with Covid-19-related symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested, even if they are vaccinated.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Nick Jones said in the eight days up to the end of November, more than 3000 people had been tested in Hawke's Bay.
"It is promising many people have got out and got tested, particularly off the back of last weekend's Covid positive case being detected and locations of interest being notified.
"The earlier we detect any spread of Covid-19, the more effective our response can be in stamping it out."
The region's only current case remains in isolation with appropriate health and welfare supports in place.
All identified contacts have so far returned negative test results.
Drive-in testing stations were open on Thursday and right through the weekend as well as booking options.
Dr Jones also reminded people getting vaccinated against Covid-19, or booking in a booster shot if fully vaccinated and it has been more than six months since receiving your second dose.