Holidaymakers urged to reconsider visit to Whanganui

Whanganui iwi leader urges holidaymakers to reconsider plans to visit the region this summer to protect Te Awa Tupua communities from Covid-19   

Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui chairperson Sheena Maru says members of the iwi are concerned about the risk of holidaymakers coming to the region in coming months.  

“We know that a lot of tourists and visitors want to come to our beautiful rohe at this time of year, especially drawn to the Awa or cycling the various tracks,” she says. 

“As a precaution, with the safety of our communities' front of mind, we are encouraging visitors to please stay home this Summer, to minimise the risk of Covid-19 entering our community.” 

The Whanganui region has been lucky enough to avoid any Covid-19 cases in the latest Delta outbreak, but that could all change when the Auckland boundary is lifted this month. 

Māori vaccination rates in Whanganui are only at 62% percent, which leaves part of the region particularly vulnerable to the virus.  

“We know that many whānau derive their livelihoods from businesses along the Awa and that the community must learn to live and work with the virus at some point. 

“But we recognise that currently the risk is too high for our people, and we need to achieve higher vaccination rates before we move forward collectively, or our kaumatua and mokopuna are at risk.” 

Maru says several marae along the isolated Whanganui River Road remained closed. 

“Our whānau and hapū are rightfully making their own decisions about what is right for them, and we are supportive of the stances they take to keep themselves safe from the virus.  

“This is what it means to live as Te Awa Tupua, each taking care of their place for the greater collective.” 

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