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Awhi abounds during Delta lockdown

23 September 2021
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The Delta variant of COVID-19 may have thumped Tāmaki Makaurau - Auckland into an extended lockdown, but all across the Northern Region, staff have shown their mettle and are displaying remarkable acts of kindness and caring.

One such group is the reassigned Auckland-based Community Corrections team, including Community Work and other volunteering staff members, who have been delivering more than 3,000 food parcels, hand sanitiser and face masks to households in need, since Monday 26 August.

The teams have started early in the day to load Community Work vans and take to the road for entire days to ensure safe deliveries to grateful families.

I wish to thank our teams for their incredible service from the bottom of my heart,” says Northern Regional Commissioner Lynette Cave.

“Since our very first Alert Level 4 lockdown last year, you have been out in the community, helping whānau in need. You truly are a shining example of our Ara Poutama Aotearoa values and Hōkai Rangi principles at work– there where it matters most.”

With the more dangerous Delta variant in the Auckland community, the number of delivery teams had to be smaller and fully kitted out in appropriate PPE.  Strict Covid-19 protocols are also in place around physical distancing and contactless delivery.

Led by Manukau Service Manager Gregory Wipani and Senior Advisor Māori Toko Nathan, the volunteer team members include Danny Tauroa, Kani Tate, Aroha Mead

Renae Hubbard, Georgina Karaka, Sinead Te Reti, Aranui Paniora, Dennis Marsh, Shenella Tuilotolava, Nga John, Lorretta Sullivan. Rawiri Robinson, Sone Setu, Semisi  Manuopangai, Thelma Cooper, and Jack Woolner.

“Our amazing staff are delivering much-needed food parcels to homes where whānau have lost jobs or can’t work, where tamariki are missing out on school lunches, and where vulnerable kuia and kaumātua, self-isolating families, single parents, and people with no access to transport live,” says Lead Service Manager Northern Region Community Work Tina Peel.

“Our teams have also been providing generous supplies of hand sanitiser to lead Pasifika community agencies,  such as The Fono, Fonua Ola, Affirming Works, Siaola, and Vaka Tautua, to include in food parcels they are preparing for Pacific families and communities,” says Northern Regional Advisor Pacific, Ana Cullen.

“Times are tough and our whānau and communities are extremely grateful for the support they are receiving,” says Tina.

“One such special thank you came from Emergency Management Minister, Kiri Allan, who acknowledged Ara Poutama Aotearoa staff’s selfless support of vulnerable communities.”

In a letter of gratitude by Mā Te Huruhuru Charitable Trust, the Corrections delivery teams were thanked for making available vans and staff members to deliver support packs to roughly 200 young vulnerable young people over eight zones in Auckland. Mā Te Huruhuru Charitable Trust provides services around work readiness, suicide prevention, healthcare, life coaching and housing to taitamariki.

“Without your support, we wouldn’t have been able to provide to that scale,” says Chief Executive Māhera Maihi.

Grateful whānau have sent awesome messages of gratitude to the Community Corrections teams delivering food parcels.

“Thanks so much for your great support for my family during these hard times; appreciated with a grateful heart.”

“Ata mārie and thank you so much for the food parcel.  Stay safe and God bless you all. Ka pai mahi.”

“Thank you so much for the delivery this morning; it had helped feed my family. God bless.”

“My gratitude to you all for the food. God loves you.”

The final word belongs to Toko Nathan, who is playing a vital role in growing and nurturing Corrections’ relationships with our iwi, marae and other social agency partners.

“I wish to acknowledge our partners at our marae, as well as our hapu and iwi, who have been taking the lead in supporting whānau in need. We at Ara Poutama Aotearoa are both humbled and privileged to be involved in this mahi to awhi our vulnerable communities.

“I’m reminded of the whakatauki, ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata! He tāngata! He tāngata! What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people’. This whakatauaki talks to the importance of human connection and relationships, and this is what creates community and enables people to flourish.”

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Manukau Service Manager Gregory Wipani heads up the reassigned Community Corrections teams who are delivering food parcels to vulnerable communities.

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Senior Community Work Supervisors Renae Hubbard (left, Manukau) and Aroha Mead (Franklin) ready to deliver much-needed food parcels. With the more dangerous Delta variant in the Auckland community this time round, more stringent Covid-19 protocols are in

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Manukau Administration Officer Georgie Karaka (left) and Franklin Senior Community Work Supervisor Kani Tate load food parcels into a Community Work van at Manurewa Marae in Auckland.