National | Education

Double-vaxxed educators in Whangārei jobless, due to mandates

The effects of the vaccination mandates have been felt far and wide across the country.

A group of home-based educators in Whangārei have lost their jobs as the owner and lead teacher of the company they contract to refused to be vaccinated.

Christina Te Wake is a home-based educator with Zero 2 Hero, a job she says she loves, but that has come to an abrupt end.

“I’m disappointed because it affects me and my personal life and that of my children. It's just hard knowing how I'm going  to provide for myself.”

She's been with the company for five years.

She, along with eight other educators are double vaxxed, so her boss' decision not to be vaccinated has forced her to find a new job, which she says is heartbreaking.

Parents disappointed

“It's a loss because I’ve carried one of my families since their children were five months and now they’re three and a half. I’ve invested a lot of time and we’ve built a lot of connections and I don’t want to lose that.”

Casey Kendall and her partner Rihari Thomas opted to send their baby Pouahi to Zero to Hero as she says the idea that her child is one of just four children at Christina’s home-based care is great. She says home-based care is the best option for his health and development.

“Arā, te puta i te taiao, te manaaki i te pēpi me ngā tikanga Māori hoki. Me te mea nei ka noho pū a Christina ki te taha o tā maua nei pēpi mo te rā katoa.”

“He gets out into the environment, absolute care of the child and tikanga Māori. Also, he stays with Christina for the whole day.”

“He tino tāonga tēra ki a māua i te mea ehara taku tama i te nama noa iho.”

“That was important for us because my son isn’t just a number,” she said.

Zero 2 Hero manager Nikki Peerse says the decision to close was a tough call to make but it didn't come lightly. Given her personal choice, she still wants the best for her educators' whanau and their tamariki.

“I just want to see my families provided for, I don't want to see them go underground and struggle and have no income. That's not why I'm doing this. Nobody chooses this, it's just crazy,” she said.

More than 1,000 children have been confirmed Covid positive in the Delta outbreak. Educator Manu Johnson Peake says no matter what, children must be at the centre of all decisions.

“We have to find a way to make it work, we have to find our heart. We have to remember that these guys (children) are the most important. Because they walk with love and they walk with integrity and they know who they are”

Their contracts end next January 1. They will now explore other avenues to continue the work they do.