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Caring Calls Continuing to District’s Pakeke

16 Apr 2020

Caring Calls Continuing to District’s Pakeke

Operation Manaaki continues to be a big hit with Tairāwhiti over-65s.

Thanks to the efforts of around 60 redeployed Gisborne District Council employees, councillors and members of the iSITE team, more than 5000 of the 7000 people on the list have been called.

The ethos of Operation Manaaki is simple, and aims to ensure the elderly of Tairāwhiti are both cared for and connected during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, but it is proving to be a rewarding exercise for the callers as well as the recipients.

“People are welcoming the contact,” says council cultural activities manager Pene Walsh, “Most of our pakeke are managing very well and many have whanau support. This is a very resilient sector of our community.”

And she has even received thank you emails from whanau from outside of the district.

“On behalf of my family I would like to thank you for ringing my elderly mother to check on her wellbeing,” said one. ”Although she didn't need assistance, I am very impressed that it was offered as none of her family live in Gisborne.”

The initiative hasn’t gone unnoticed by health professionals in the region either, with support and praise coming in for the work.

The majority of calls are under 10 minutes but some can be a lot longer, and some are asking to be called back in a week or two.

Many are missing the routine of their pre-lockdown lives with quite a few wondering whether their lawns can be done by others during this time. However, lawn mowing doesn’t come under the essential services list and will have to wait until the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown period is lifted.

Council’s chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann says some people may be called by numerous organisations but she would rather that than have someone slip through the cracks. “We want to make sure they have all the essentials they need to get through the lockdown period,” she says.

Identified issues are coordinated and addressed through the ECC with the appropriate assistance given.