The Te Arawa Covid-19 hub, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the Lakes District Health Board have teamed up to get locals into jobs post-lockdown.
Three iwi relationship coordinators, two from MSD and one from the Lakes DHB, were now located at the Te Arawa Lakes Trust in Rotorua to support people through social services, development and employment.
City leaders met at the GHA building at 10am this morning for a mihi whakatau to celebrate the new partnership.
Te Arawa Covid-19 Hub lead Karen Vercoe said Rotorua had been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 crisis, largely due to the city's reliance on the tourism sector.
"Manaakitanga is at the heart of Te Arawa – we have been welcoming and hosting manuhiri for hundreds of years and as such, large numbers of Te Arawa whānau have been working in tourism and hospitality.
"Unfortunately, these are the jobs that were hit hardest by the initial Covid response with hundreds of people out of work as a result."
She said they were resilient and had adapted to the changing environment for centuries.
"Where one door has closed, there are others that are opening, and our goal is to support whānau into new jobs and industries, and ultimately create a positive flow-on benefit for everyone in our community."
A critical component of Te Arawa's response to Covid was the development of an urgent data project, which enabled the iwi to identify whānau needs across the rohe and beyond, she said.
"Within just a few weeks of lockdown we were able to connect with whānau, identify their location and understand their needs – whether that was kai, mahi or something else."
She said the project had allowed them to provide support where it was most needed and they aimed to get more than 260 people into jobs in the short term.
Combined with MSD, she said they could make a "real difference".
Bay of Plenty Regional Commissioner for Social Development Mike Bryant said the agency was focused on bringing about positive changes in the wellbeing of the people, whānau and communities it serves.
"Sixty-seven per cent of our clients across Rotorua are Māori and we believe that working with hapū and iwi is the only way we can do this," he said.
He said the partnership was a good opportunity to learn and understand each other's work.
"Together we will be better placed to the jointly support whanau on their pathway to independence."
Lakes DHB chief executive officer Nick Saville-Wood said the DHB wanted to build on the work its people had done during Covid-19.
"A large number of our people were actively involved in outreach throughout lockdown, which meant we were able to support and engage with our community on a completely different level.
"It makes sense to continue that work with whānau and to support greater outcomes across the board."