Regional | Covid Response Strategies

No vax, no holiday in Te Whānau ā Apanui

Te Whānau ā Apanui Iwi Response Unit member and Ōpōtiki councillor Louis Rapihana is planning for the arrival of outside campers leading into Christmas.

“Vaccination Passports are wanted. We want to see them from holidaymakers and, if not, there may be complications entering shops and difficulties getting into holiday parks and motels,” Rapihana says.

This plan comes as members of the business community throughout the eastern Bay of Plenty have called for more support for their businesses, so they can stay open safely.

Omaio Store owner Lena Nepson supports the idea of customers providing passport vaccinations before being served. Today she closed her shop and would only serve with customers staying outside.

“If you are coming into our rohe/ region make sure you have got your documents because you may not get served at the door,” she says.

Traffic lights disliked

Rapihana has also signalled he does not support the government’s Traffic Light System and says Apanui should be left to care for their own people and seek out their own future.

“We don’t want to be put in the red system. In saying that, we are as a marae and hapu looking at how we will address funerals during these traffic light systems,” Rapihana says.

Although 92% of Te Whānau ā Apanui people have been vaccinated, Te Kaha Medical Centre Doctor Rachel Thomson still has concerns.

“We have a really limited medical health system here. Over the Christmas and holiday periods, we are already stretched and that is even without Covid in the area. So please consider going somewhere else.”

They want visitors to use their vaccine passes, which can be obtained here.

The pass is an official record of someone’s Covid-19 vaccination status for use within Aotearoa New Zealand. It allows people to access certain events and venues operating under the Covid-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system).

The My Vaccine Pass includes a name, date of birth, and a QR code. It can be saved on a digital device, such as a phone, or a physical copy can be printed.

The pass has an expiry date six months after the date of issue.