Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) funded resources were presented to the Tupapa Maraerenga Puna Emergency Operations Centre coordinator Kopu Anguna and Eddie Drollet to assist work of Te Marae Ora Covid-19 response. Picture: LYDIA SIJP/22040409
Over 600 positive cases of Covid-19 have been recorded with the Tupapa Maraerenga Puna Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) who are also responsible for monitoring the village of Takuvaine through to Karekare in Upper Tupapa.
Coordinator of the Tupapa Puna EOC Kopu Anguna says like the other Puna on Rarotonga, they are short of volunteers.
earn the minimum wage of $8 per hour, they should be earning at least $12 or
$15 per hour. The work that they do is just incredible, they start early in the
morning, trying to get to everyone in isolation … they on the go all the time,”
“And sometimes it’s
impossible to monitor those who breach their isolation orders – whether they
breach intentionally, or they didn’t know or didn’t understand their isolation
orders – simply because we don’t have enough people.”
Every morning Zoom
briefings are held between the Puna and Te Marae Ora health ministry, and daily
changes to instructions to cope with the shifting landscape of Covid infectious
are the norm. However, many times this causes confusion among the Puna
“Our part as the
Puna plays is as a support team, we are there to help with Te Marae Ora, we are
not the health clinic team, we are there to help,” explained Anguna.
The Puna have helped
Red Cross with the distribution of the welfare packs to homes, help monitor people
in isolation, conduct RAT tests, tape and red flag properties and are on call when
people in the community need assistance.
Due to the serious
shortage of nurses on the island, the Tupapa Maraerenga Puna has only one clinical
nurse, Ake Teiotu.
with the staff in our clinic and with Ake who releases or sign people out,”
Some people are
known to have released themselves after their seven days of isolation, roll up
the tape and red flag neatly for the health officers or Puna to collect, she
“You can’t blame
them or the Puna, because there’s just not enough people on board, as long as
people understand that…”
Anguna would like
the community to be patient with the health workers.
“We have a large
population to support and we don’t have many volunteers. Please be patient,
there are not enough trained clinical health workers and some of the volunteers
have now got jobs, so we are really left with hardly anyone. It’s good that we
do have people like Keith Murphy who goes in at 9am to help with the RAT
testing before he goes to work.”
Yesterday morning the
RAT testing at the Tupapa Maraerenga Puna was supposed to start at 9am. People started
arriving from 7.30am and had to be asked to return later, by 8.45am the testing
station was full.
Te Marae Ora
health ministry have asked volunteers in households to conduct their own RAT
tests. “Please do it properly, be honest about it,” Anguna said.
Anguna’s advice to
the community is to “be prepared” and have food available at home that can last
for three days, since the government welfare packs cannot be delivered on the
first day of isolation.
“People have been
known to get angry because they had expected a welfare grocery pack on the same
day they tested positive, so it can be challenging,” expressed Anguna.
“We are all doing
the best we can, be prepared and be informed.”
Maraerenga Puna EOC is located in the Tupapa Centre, they can be contacted on