Press Release – New Zealand Government
Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples is today visiting the Maori earthquake response command centre which has been established at Wigram. “Both Te Puni Kokiri and Ngai Tahu offices in Christchurch were damaged in the earthquake, so we have moved in …Te Puni Kokiri supporting Ngai Tahu response to Canterbury earthquake
Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples is today visiting the Maori earthquake response command centre which has been established at Wigram.
“Both Te Puni Kokiri and Ngai Tahu offices in Christchurch were damaged in the earthquake, so we have moved in together with He Oranga Pounamu, the Christchurch Whanau Ora Provider, and the Maori Wardens in Christchurch, to Ngai Tahu’s facilities at Wigram,” said Dr Sharples.
“Together we have spent the past few days getting our communications infrastructure established, so we can co-ordinate the help that is flooding in from Maori around the country,” said Dr Sharples.
“Other agencies whose offices cannot be used may join us over the coming days and weeks, to become a hub to mobilise and co-ordinate the resources of Maori in Christchurch, and around the country,” he said.
“We have a toll-free help line, 0800 KAI TAHU, for accommodation at the local marae. Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is making sure they have the fuel, food and bedding they need. Other marae as far north as Auckland have opened their doors to people from Christchurch.
“Tahu FM, the iwi radio station, was knocked out by the quake, but is back on air right across the South Island and through the national iwi radio network, with help from Te Upoko o te Ika radio station in Wellington, broadcasting vital information and keeping people in touch,” said Dr Sharples.
“Iwi leaders and Maori NGOs all over the country have mobilised skilled staff for relief work in Christchurch, including two contingents of nurses from Te Arawa, and a group of Maori trauma counsellors. Iwi and Maori organisations have also pledged significant cash donations.
“Te Puni Kokiri has sent extra resources to Christchurch, and is playing its proper role in an emergency, which is to ensure that relief efforts are well co-ordinated, and are integrated to achieve the best outcomes on the ground.
“It is really important that Maori support is mobilised in national and regional planning, the role of tangata whenua is properly recognised, and Maori priorities are addressed appropriately,” said Dr Sharples.
“The Maori hub is working closely with other Government and local agencies to help plug gaps in services, and to strengthen the overall relief effort. I am very proud of the efforts of Te Puni Kokiri and Ngai Tahu in getting this up and running and the close relationship they have formed,” he said.