30 Mar 2020

'Nothing is more vital than our survival' - Māori King

5:20 pm on 30 March 2020

The Māori King has said the most important thing at the moment is to protect whakapapa.

060814. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. Maori King Tuheitia Paki at the Ranana marae in Whanganui.

Kiingi Tūheitia made a rare public address from his home saying the most important thing is to protect whakapapa. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

In a rare public address from his home, Kiingi Tūheitia said he was encouraged by the actions from iwi across the country in response to Covid-19.

"I urge all iwi leaders to continue to work hard for the betterment of all our people - Mahia te mahi hei painga mō te iwi."

He acknowledged there were difficulties with tangihanga and large Māori gatherings, but said they had to do what was best for hapū and iwi.

"I believe the most important action is to protect our whakapapa - nothing is more vital than our survival."

Māori leaders have been rallying to support their uri throughout the lockdown period, sending out kai and care packages to their kaumātua, and putting checkpoints in place to stop non-residents entering their rohe and infecting their people.

Last week, Tūwharetoa ariki Tā Tumu te Heuheu sent a message out on social media to his descendants to take care of themselves and those around them by staying at home.

"As we've seen from our own history with the 1917 influenza epidemic, in times of crisis we find strength and unity and pull together to support and tautoko one another.

"By staying at home, restricting our movements, we are doing our bit to help ourselves, our whānau and the future of Ngāti Tūwharetoa."

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre