Next week will mark the opening of our second round of Tama Ora funding, an opportunity for whānau to think about ways to get our tamariki and rangatahi active. We launched Tama Ora in the midst of last year’s Delta lockdown – a partnership with Sport New Zealand | Ihi Aotearoa that furthers their strategy Every Body Active. It is about encouraging our young people to build healthy habits around exercise; habits that will set them up for life and help them understand how improving their taha tinana can contribute to their overall hauora.
Last week we received an update from one of our 26 Kōanga Kai initiatives, delivered by Te Rūnanga o Rangitāne o Wairau. This kaupapa supports whānau to set up their own māra kai at their whare, helping them to take charge of their own kai production and improve their wairua by connecting with te taiao and the traditions of their tūpuna. Check out the planter boxes and supplies being delivered to whānau!
Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of changes in our national response to COVID-19 that will be coming into effect over the next wo weeks. The first changes come into effect tonight, at midnight on 25 March. The country will remain at the red setting, but restrictions will cease for outdoor gatherings, and will be relaxed for indoor gatherings. This means that spectators can return to sports grounds and outdoor concerts can go ahead. For indoor gatherings, including events and hospitality, size limits will double from 100 to 200; however, everyone is still required to be seated and separated, and to present their vaccine pass. Face masks will still be required in most indoor settings. Finally, we will no longer need to scan in to every shop, cafe or business we enter when we are out and about.
More changes will come into effect at midnight on Monday 4 April, around vaccine passes and mandates. It will no longer be mandatory for businesses to participate in the vaccine pass system – although they may choose to continue to do so.
Vaccine mandates for employment will be removed, except for those working in the health and disability sector, aged care facilities, corrections staff, and border and MIQ workers. This means that education, police and defence force sectors will no longer need to mandate their workforce.
These changes are a clear relaxation of the public health measures, and will come as a welcome relief after two years of various restrictions in the battle against COVID-19. However, these changes do not mean that the pandemic is over; only that we are transitioning into a new way of managing the virus and living with its realities. It’s important that we all still do what we can to keep ourselves and our whānau safe – stay home if you’re feeling sick, wear your mask when out in public, wash your hands regularly and keep physically distancing where possible. Most importantly, make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations, including the booster – there is more evidence every day that the booster decreases the risk of serious illness.