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Hourua Pae Rau’s work during the COVID-19 response

Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, ki te kapuia e kore e whati.

Hourua Pae Rau (our Māori services team) is working with Māori businesses and Iwi to navigate through COVID-19, facilitating workshops to help people through their COVID-19 challenges.

The challenges around the initial impact of the pandemic have continued to leave lasting effects for Iwi, but they’ve responded strongly by bringing together communities to find new pathways ahead. Hourua Pae Rau was proud to provide support to both Iwi and businesses they already knew, as well as those the team hadn’t worked with before.

The support offered is in the form of practical workshops, provided both virtually during the restricted COVID-19 alert levels and most recently, in person. Using the Deloitte Business Continuity framework, the team leads discussions around ‘Respond, recover, thrive’ – our three key steps for mitigating the current economic impact.

The mahi has included designing real-time reporting dashboards reviewing strategies in light of economic forecasts, and rebalancing asset portfolio mixes. Much was also strategy based – helping business and Iwi assess their plan for both an immediate response and the future.

The Maniapoto Māori Trust Board

A story that truly demonstrates leading from the heart was a recent session with the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board, a large Iwi in the King Country. Lead Partner, Lee Gray, and Mere Kingi led the CEO Bella Takiari-Brame through her COVID-19 response using the principles of the business continuity which were tailored to the Iwi's needs.

Deloitte had previously worked with Maniapoto as auditors and provided consulting services in recent years. Currently in a pre-settlement period of extensive government negotiation, the Iwi was already limited in resourcing capacity when COVID-19’s impact took effect. Having seen the effects of a response workshop that Deloitte had already done for a non-Māori organisation, Takiari-Brame asked the Hourua Pae Rau team to adapt that framework specifically for Iwi.

The focus areas for Maniapoto were the ‘three C’s’, namely:

  • Care for their Kaumātua (elderly)
  • Collaboration with Iwi and agencies
  • Communication with tribal members

To best support those focus areas, Deloitte and the Iwi drew up a quick response plan in the workshop. The result was the creation of a food bank, a new call centre to check in with the most vulnerable in the community and the deployment of mobile units providing flu vaccinations. Takiari-Brame and her team also formed a response team, comprising of Iwi leaders, the civil defence, social services and the local mayors.

Not only did Takiari-Brame get full support and mandate from her Board of Trustees at the conclusion of the workshop, but she was also able to clearly articulate her action plan to Mayors and Iwi leaders in the Central North Island and various Ministers of Parliament.

The results of the work was significant – the flu vaccinations had a significant uptake across the region, while the food bank provided crucial services to around 1000 people. Takiari-Brame says, ‘That response has really strengthened our community approach. If we hadn’t stood up a food bank like we did, it could have been worse. I think we eased the need.’

Takiari-Brame also points out that they made sure to embody the value of Manaakitanga in their work, actively looking after everyone by making the services available to neighbouring Iwi and the broader community.

The final results really show the impact of collaboration and an approach that considers all members of the Iwi.

Beyond the response workshop and plan, Hourua Pae Rau also supported Maniapoto in identifying areas where they needed active improvement to keep up with the new services.

As Takiari-Brame states:

‘The workshop allowed me to point at the areas where we were weak as well. Our tribal database wasn’t ready to capture all the calls we were now making and the surveys we were running. Deloitte was able to help us use that data and present them in clear dashboards. It’s still a work in progress but it’s looking better, and it’s also helped us as we work towards settlement in September.’

Looking ahead, the Maniapoto team have been able to take their insights from the initial response plan to evolve the services that they developed. Takiari-Brame says:

‘Hauora, or health, is a part we never thought we’d play a part in. We’ve turned our minds to maintaining the call centres simply so we can do wellbeing checks on our most vulnerable members, particularly those over 65. The other aspect is working with the District Health Board at the moment around developing the mobile units, after recognising how useful they were for distributing flu vaccines.’

Renewed commitment to Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) post COVID-19

Māori leaders and Iwi are looking ahead to recover and thrive, visualising what the “new normal” will look like. As Māori, we know our purpose is to preserve and enhance for the benefit of future generations. There is a sense of a renewed commitment to Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) post COVID-19. This has been summed up by CEO of Kono, Rachel Taulelei:

“We think intergenerational, we are hardwired for collective responsibility for our people and we are survivors. We are inextricably linked to our whakapapa, to Ranginui and Papatūānuku (sky father and earth mother) to our very being."

For Hourua Pae Rau, the team too look to the future and are ready to be part of that journey to recover and thrive for future generations.