The Government has reprioritised up to $5 million to provide immediate relief to vulnerable whānau Māori and communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.

The COVID-19 2021 Whānau Recovery Fund will support community driven, local responses to gaps in access and provision of critical services.

“Funding will initially focus on those areas hardest hit by the higher COVID-19 alert levels; Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tai Tokerau and Northern Waikato,” Willie Jackson said.

The fund would provide small grants to Māori organisations and iwi who were working directly with the community.

“We know there are groups of people who are not connected to existing support networks, but who are still providing for our most vulnerable whānau right now.

“This funding is about supporting those on the ‘edge’ of the system, as a matter of last resort, who are going above and beyond to support their communities.

“Examples include support to make sure vulnerable rangatahi are connected to their peers and support networks, and support for kai packaging and delivery as provider staff are focussed on resourcing vaccination clinics.

“The COVID-19 2021 Whānau Recovery Fund is about providing immediate relief to those on the frontline, but also demonstrates the need to invest in the growth and resilience of our communities,” Minister Jackson says.