Mana-aki Matakaoa wins at Ngā Tohu o Matariki o te Tau
In June, Mana-aki Matakaoa were announced the winners of the community category at the prestigious 2022 Ngā Tohu o Matariki o te Tau. They were recognised for their amazing response to COVID-19 in helping protect their Tai Rāwhiti community.
Tina Ngata, spokesperson for the group, attributed their success to the strength of all whānau, kura and businesses of Matakaoa and acknowledged everybody who had been an ally on their journey to keep COVID-19 out.
"We have so few safety nets here in rural isolated communities if something goes wrong. It was about looking at what we can do to prevent COVID-19 from coming into our community and maintaining the wellbeing of the people for future generations," Tina said.
Mana-aki Matakaoa took a multi-layered approach that involved:
- making kai and medicine available for whānau when they needed it most. This was huge because the nearest pharmacy could be up to four hours away
- looking after whānau with everything they had, from helping fix fences to stop cattle roaming to feeding their pigs. They did anything they could to help whānau isolate safely
- getting whānau into the health system and helping them become familiar with it, so they could navigate it successfully when they got COVID-19.
You can watch the awards ceremony on Whakaata Māori. Tina’s acceptance speech is at 1.48.00.
The Matakaoa community also won the NZ Community of the Year Award in the annual Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year awards in April 2022. Their ongoing mahi is an amazing example to all people from Aotearoa about how to keep our communities safe from COVID-19.