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Ngāi Te Rangi will deliver more than 300kg of fish and 1.2 tonnes of vegetables to the tribe's elderly and most vulnerable people from today.
The fish was ordered two weeks ago from Napier and arrived in Tauranga yesterday, ready to be distributed today.
This will go to the 318 vulnerable families and elders spanning the area from Waihi Beach to Pāpāmoa East, including Matakana and Rangiwaea Islands — for which boats needed to be organised.
"We need to have a stronger focus on our own," iwi chief executive Paora Stanley said.
He said getting the fish to those in need had become a joint venture with Latitude restaurant in Mount Maunganui which will supply hygiene-trained staff to help with the fish.
This started when Stanley reached out to hospitality group Kāpura, the umbrella group that runs Latitude, asking if there were any staff struggling that might need to be added to the list for support.
He said the response was that they were fine for now, but offered their support in return.
"I said to him, it's funny you should say that," Stanley said. The help meant he did not need to provide additional Covid food hygiene training, and they could get on with it.
Next week, it was hoped fresh fish would be coming in from the iwi's own fishing boats in Tauranga.
"Level 4 and 3 really aren't that much different, people still go through hardships."
About 1.2 tonnes of vegetables, as well as ready-to-eat meals from storage which took two days, with nine staff and 15 people at the marae to make, will also be distributed.
These were vegetables that could be peeled, which gave the produce an extra layer of protection, he said.
The food began rolling in the second week of lockdown when the hardship really began to hit.
The iwi also had two senior and one standard social worker who can check up on people, as well as three staff who ring the 318 whanau at least once a week to check-in.