Kindness and caring in Mangakino
23/04/2020 9:43:35 a.m.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Kindness and caring in Mangakino

People in Mangakino community are living the motto that “we’re all in this together”.

The small community, which lies in the Taupō district, has been supported by other iwi to ensure its residents are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mangakino is a Ngati Kahungunu ō Wairarapa settlement and has whanau from other iwi living there. It has been included in the Te Arawa Whānau Ora initiative and received support from Te Korowai Roopu Tautoko of Tuwharetoa and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi, among other services.

“It’s enabled everyone to work together,” says Leanne Karauna, who is a kai tautoko with Mangakino Orangatanga and paeārahi for Te Arawa Whānau Ora ki Mangakino.

Mangakino Orangatanga is a forum to identify and address Māori health issue in Mangakingo to progressively empower and improve their wellbeing. Puakani Marae has the kawa of Ngati Kahungunu ō Wairarapa and is there for the benefit of all Māori in the area.

“Mangakino is a community of many iwi. Mangakino Orangatanga represents all Maori. Our marae is for all members of the district.”

Since before the lockdown Leanne has been working alongside Te Arawa Whānau Ora to ensure that vulnerable members of the community have all they need to get them through safely.

At the last census Mangakino had a population of 828 with 492 identifying as Māori descent.

Among the support in the community has been the delivery of Whānau Ora care packages to 60 families as well Mangakino Orangatanga care packs to 32 kaumatua, who were sent letters “to let them know they’re important to us and we want to help them stay safe”.

Te Korowai Roopu Tautoko Inc and Tuwharetoa Health provided some Mangakino whānau with baby formula and nappies and Mangakino Whānau Ora was able to deliver hygiene packs.

“This is an example of cross-provider networking which everyone is proud to tautoko,” Leanne says.

“We’ve checked our vulnerable families to ensure they had what they needed. Some families don’t have credit cards so can’t order kai online, some needed firewood, heating and blankets as it got cold quite quickly. We’ve found ways to get them resources.”

Many of the deliveries have been assisted by Civil Defence authorised volunteers Maunga Mackey, Danielle Karauna and Sasha Karauna, who have been uplifted by the gratitude that whānau express.

Other challenges have been getting to the testing centre in Tokoroa as many residents don’t have private transport, obtaining emergency dentistry, lack of housing, ongoing need for urgent and essential housing repair and supporting the local GP practice to keep whānau engaged and well.

Leanne says the overall experience has been eye-opening.

“It’s been a learning experience for me to hear how large areas with a lot of different iwi and hapu leaders have come together and developed a collective leadership to benefit all Māori in their rohe at this time.

“He mahi rangatira tēna. We’re trying to introduce this to our community because we don’t have a strong Māori presence to replicate the mahi. It’s inspiring me to connect us more.”

Mangakino Orangatanga has been supporting families of Mangakino alongside Mangakino Health Services, Mangakino Family Services, Pouakani Marae and Te Arawa Whānau Ora.