Covid-19: Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Update.

Although things may look a little different in for our partners in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, they still continue to support whānau and tamariki in their regions. We are very grateful and proud of their mahi in these unprecedented times.[/vc_column_text]

Kahungungu Whānau Services protecting our whakapapa; fighting influenza for whānau; Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga are active with their food bank for whānau; Te Kura Reo Rua O Waikirikiri ensuring our young tane have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Tā Apirana Ngata.


Covid-19: Whānau Ora Partners Hard At Work Taking Care Of Our People

Here is a quick snapshot of how Whānau Ora and its network of 80 partners across Te Ika a Māui have come together to support whānau in response to COVID-19. Thank you to all of our kaimahi and volunteers taking care of whānau and kaumātua during this challenging time. Our mahi will continue to ensure whānau are safe and supported.

Covid-19: Our Partners Continued Vigilance With Testing

Our Whānau Ora Partners continue to be safe and test as many of our people as possible around the country. We thank you for your patience during these difficult times.

Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective; Tuwharetoa Health Charitable Trust; Te Korowai Roopu Trust working with other partners and supporting whānau.

Our Whānau Ora Partners Manurewa Marae Bake & Deliver Rawena To Kaumātua

Whānau Ora Partners, Manurewa Marae, have consistently been responding to needs of their people since the second wave of Covid-19 hit Auckland placing them at Alert Level 3. Their mahi includes a soup kitchen, food bank, hygiene and kai pack deliveries and now they have baked several batches of rawena and delivered them to kaumatua in their rohe.

Our Partners Te Tai Tokerau Working Hard For Whānau

Our incredible partners in Te Tai Tokerau supporting the Whānau Ora movement, encouraging and assisting the aspirations of whānau as they navigate their journeys towards becoming stronger and more resilient through Covid-19 life.

Happy whānau receiving their support packs in the Far North. There are no restrictions to who qualifies for these packs – we are out delivering to everyone and thank all our volunteers and kaimahi.

If you have symptoms please get tested – here is our testing station in Kaitaia; plus kaimahi and volunteers keeping people safe and delivering Whānau Ora packs right across the rohe.

Our Whānau Ora Partners Ongoing Response.

Our Whānau Ora partners have continued to respond with urgency and care to this second wave of Covid-19. While Tāmaki Makaurau is in Alert Level 3 and the rest of Aotearoa is in Level 2 – everyones mahi is to protect and provide.

Te Hiku Hauora testing station; Manurewa Marae soup kitchen; Turuki Health Care Covid Testing at Nga Tamaoho Offices in Karaka and kai boxes being delivered by the Manukau Urban Authority.

Our Whānau Ora Partners Immediate Response To The Second Wave Of Covid-19

Our Whānau Ora partners responded with immediacy and accuracy as this second wave of Covid-19 hit.

Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust making masks for whānau; Ngati Wai preparing to deliver Kai Packs; Nga Miro Health Trust taking advantage of old kākahu to create new masks and Te Kōhao Health also making masks.

Te Pae Herenga o Tāmaki working together to support whānau around Tāmaki Makaurau; Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance; Te Whānau O Waipareira Trust at the new Port Of Auckland testing station and happy whānau in Otangarei in Whangarei with a pack from Ngātiwai Trust Board.

Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Whātua working with our New Zealand Police assisting with traffic control; Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust creating amazing masks for whānau; kaimahi at Te Whānau O Waipareira Trust gloved and masked and Manurewa Marae kaimahi opening their mobile clinic.

Covid-19: Wave Two Alert Levels August 2020

Level 1 – Prepare. All The Details You Need.

Level 2 – Reduce. All The Details You Need.

Frontline Nurses Granted Wider Medical Powers

Frontline Staff

The under pressure health system exposed by Covid-19 has opened the door for highly qualified nurses to carry out vaccinations, provide medicines and treat asthma patients and strep throat – once the sole domain of senior clinicians and GPs.

But with Covid-19 cases decreasing and winter fast approaching, stringent health and medical regulations have been relaxed – allowing Waipareira frontline nurses to deliver a far greater role in the community, and act as a one stop health shop.

Waipareira CEO John Tamihere said the relaxation rules were much needed and long overdue. He said this small change will give Māori health care workers the ability to care and look after their own communities.

“Covid-19 has exposed major bottle necks and deficiencies in our health system,” Tamihere said.

“Giving nurses more delegation will benefit poorer communities and create more connectivity for Maori caught in a health system they did not fully engage with.”

Dr Kevinit Sandhu With Members Of The Waipareira Medical Team

Dr Kevinit Sandhu, head of the Waipareira drive through Covid-19 Clinic, said anyone suffering serious respiratory issues must still go to their GP.

But patients with symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sore throat or chest infection could still come for a free COVID test.

“If patients are unwell with breathing issues or a temperature, they need to contact their GP who can refer them to us if they are unable to get seen,” Dr Sandhu said.

Along with free Covid-19 testing for all west Aucklanders, Waipareira will also offer flu jabs to eligible people. That eligibility criteria includes pregnant women (any trimester), people 65 and over, under 65s with conditions, such as chronic heart disease, chronic liver, disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Children aged 4 who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness, including children under 5 years who were hospitalised with measles can also receive treatment.

Nursing staff will also administer antibiotics to patients who have a sore throat and at risk of rheumatic fever.

Waipareira CEO John Tamihere and Ngaire Harris

Ngaire Harris – clinical lead of the Whanau House Covid-19 vaccination services, and a long time nurse, said nurses should be utilised more.

“Our nursing staff know our whanau, and our whanau have a real trust in them,” she said.

Tamihere said this was just a small step towards a health system that must devolve and starting to break free from a choke hold from a system developed 100 years ago.

“I would also like to see pharmacists given wider delegations to prescribe certain medicines over the counter,” Tamihere said.

“GPs would then be better utilised for their medical skills and knowledge.”

Concerned About COVID-19?

See our FAQs for useful COVID-19 information and how Whānau Ora is supporting whānau and vulnerable communities.

For health advice, call the dedicated Healthline free on 0800 358 5453

If you or your whānau need financial support, contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 or

If you need support getting help contact your local Whānau Ora partner:

If you need immediate support from a counsellor free call or text 1737

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency will be also sharing the latest COVID-19 guidelines and advice to keep you and your whānau safe and well via our social media channels. Follow us now on Facebook and Twitter.

For those kaimahi in the health and social work space, and other like-minded organisations, WOCA will be updating its online resources with the latest reports to help inform COVID-19 responses and strategies. Info on personal protective equipment can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

Join the Whānau Ora Kōrero on The New Normal: What Does This Mean For Whānau and How Are The Collectives Providing Support?

Join Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) live on Facebook for a kōrero across the Whānau Ora movement.

Every Thursday at 8PM, WOCA CEO John Tamihere will be talking with Whānau Ora Collectives about their mahi and the unique approaches they are taking to best support whānau during COVID-19 and beyond.

To kick off this series, WOCA will kōrero with Te Tai Tokerau on 30th April.

WOCA On Track to Deliver 90,000 Hygiene Packs By End of April

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency is on track to meet its target and deliver supplies for a total of 90,000 hygiene packs to Whānau Ora distribution centers up and down the North Island by the end of April.

It has been a massive job and Whānau Ora workforce have stepped up to the challenge and responded quickly.

Over ANZAC Day weekend, many partners were still quietly working away, including Te Roopu Awhina Ki Porirua who completed packing a further 2900 hygiene packs on behalf of their collective in Wellington.

WOCA Urges Whānau To Keep Getting Tested for COVID-19

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency is reminding whānau who have COVID-19 symptoms, or believe they have come into contact with someone with the virus, to go their local COVID-19 testing centre.

Anyone who intends visiting a testing centre but is uncertain whether they meet the criteria, can seek advice from Healthline (0800 358 5453) or their GP.

For whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau who need a test, Whānau Ora partner Te Whānau O Waipareira has set up a drive-in assessment centre at Whānau Centre, Henderson.

While the testing centre will be closed on Anzac Day – Saturday, 25th April – it will continue with its usual opening hours (8am-4pm) over the rest of the long weekend.

CEO John Tamihere Interviews Clinical Director for Waipareira Māori COVID Testing Center on Testing and Progress

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency CEO John Tamihere has spoken with Dr Kevin Sandhu, Clinical Director for Waipareira Māori COVID Testing Centre, on testing and progress.

Being vigilant in testing is increasingly important as we head into winter.

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency Acknowledges Inspiring Partner Mahi

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency acknowledges the innovative and dedicated mahi of Whānau Ora partners across the motu.

Whānau Ora leadership across Te Ika A Maui is at the epicenter of our COVID-19 response. Rohe by rohe they update the roll-out of support deep into our communities.

“This is an incredible forum for the exchange of innovative ideas as to how vulnerable communities are moving to defend themselves from COVID-19 this winter.

Words like inspiration and sacrifice tend to pale into insignificance when mixing, walking and talking with this leadership group.

It is a privilege and an honor to be part of this, our Whānau Ora Movement”
– John Tamihere, CEO Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency

30,000 Whānau Ora Hygiene Packs Delivered This Week

A further 30,000 Whānau Ora Hygiene Packs have been delivered around the motu this week, as Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency works to achieve its goal of delivering 120,000 packs to Whānau Ora partners by the end of April.

Whānau Ora partners are using their knowledge of local communities to target those whānau most in need when distributing the packs in their rohe.

WOCA Acknowledges Snell For Commitment to Whānau Ora Hygiene Pack Mahi

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency acknowledges Snell for its committed mahi over the Easter weekend, meaning that 487 pallets of hygiene products could be delivered on Tuesday to depots around the North Island.

CEO John Tamihere Discusses Māori Response to Covid-19

Latest Wave of Whānau Ora Hygiene Packs Delivered to Partners

The supplies for the next 20,000 Whānau Ora Hygiene Packs have arrived for packing and distribution by our Whānau Ora partners this week.

Every week until the end of April, a further 30,000 packs will be delivered across the North Island.

“We hope to be able to keep these deliveries going and ensure that our most vulnerable whānau are protected before winter comes and COVID-19 really hits,” said CEO John Tamihere.

Whānau Ora Deemed Essential Service During COVID-19 Lockdown

Our Whānau Ora services and organisations are deemed as ‘Essential Services’ during the COVID-19 Level 4 Alert period for New Zealand.

Whānau Ora and Māori Health providers will redeploy all of its resources to support a nationally coordinated Public Health effort, to support whānau during these unprecedented times.

Activities by the Whānau Ora workforce include whānau wellbeing checks and the distribution of Whānau Ora Hygiene Packs.

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency Acknowledges Support Package for Whānau as a Good Start

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait says the just released targeted financial package for Māori is a good start and looks forward to the government releasing more funding and support to vulnerable communities.

Today the government announced a range of initiatives for Māori – including $15 million to the 3 Commissioning Agencies to inject mechanisms and care packages directly into the poorest communities.

“I tautoko our Māori Ministers who have come together to acknowledge and put together a package for Māori,” Raukawa-Tait, chair of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, said.

She said new funding will be targeted by accredited Whānau Ora providers to whānau within their communities. The collective is the only support network – including government agencies – who have the ability to provide immediate support and relief for whānau.

Raukawa-Tait said WOCA was left to initiate hygiene and sanitation packs for families, where cleaning products were considered a luxury. The first 10,000 will be dispatched this week with the remaining 20,000 distributed over the next fortnight.

“Our providers know their communities and whānau who will need these packs and they will receive them over the next few weeks,” Raukawa-Tait said.

She also acknowledged that Māori generally did not engage with the health system with many living in isolated rural communities.

The government will provide funding for Māori-led, Māori-specific vaccination programmes to address equity issues, including a targeted health promotion campaign and to support the workforce of Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies to respond to the increase demand as a result of Covid-19.

“The health packages designed for clinics don’t serve the majority of our people,” Raukawa-Tait said.

“It is timely that we finally get funded to support initiatives by Māori to Māori for Māori.”

Whānau Ora Resources Redeployed to Fight COVID-19

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) has announced that it will redeploy Whānau Ora funding and resources to fight the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

WOCA will use the funds to support whānau Māori, especially kaumātua and those most vulnerable to the virus.

“We are going to stand up against this virus together, because we know that our communities are more susceptible to these kinds of viruses than the general population. We owe it to whānau to create a for Māori, by Māori strategy to protect their health and wellbeing at this uncertain time,” said John Tamihere, CEO of WOCA.

“It is well-documented that Māori have higher rates of chronic diseases, including respiratory diseases, and this puts us at a higher risk of negative health outcomes from COVID-19, compounded by inequities and barriers in the healthcare system,” Mr Tamihere added.

Furthermore, with many whānau Māori living in areas with limited medical resources, there are fears among Whānau Ora providers that a COVID-19 outbreak will stretch resources.

“Hygiene is now extraordinarily important so, as part of our strategy, we are in the process of putting together hygiene kits for our whānau in financial difficulty. Through Whānau Ora partners, we have strong channels of distribution by dedicated navigators who know best the local communities and their needs,” Mr Tamihere said.

The kits will contain a month’s supply of hygiene products for a whānau of up to five members, and will include hand sanitiser, rubber gloves and cleaning products. WOCA aims to send out 30,000 packs in the first wave, with 60,000 packs to be distributed at a later date.

Statement from John Tamihere, CEO of WOCA

We are looking at an invasion of inestimable impacts on our community given our deprivation status and difficulties. While we have yet to see a plan for the vulnerable communities we serve, we have gone into action to rally our present resources to achieve the best possible defense for our community.
We cannot be an afterthought given that we will be the worst affected. We hope the Government can continue to support over the next few months.