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When the last-minute decision was made to cancel last week’s National Iwi Chairs Forum at Waitangi due to the spread of Covid-19, NorthTec was able to step up and provide a suitable venue for the event.
The February meeting of the forum, which concluded last Friday, was scheduled to be held at the Waitangi National Trust and hosted by Ngatiwai Trust Board. The plan was to host the iwi of Te Tai Tokerau face-to-face, while hosting ngā iwi o te motu (iwi from across Aotearoa New Zealand) online.
However, due to the spread of Omicron in the region, the decision was made to cancel the in-person event for the safety of all. At the last minute, arrangements were made to bring the fully online event to NorthTec’s Interactive Learning Centre at the Raumanga campus. The venue is set up with the technology to enable the forum to be livestreamed across the country.
Ngatiwai Trust Board Raukura CEO, Huhana Lyndon, said: “Ngatiwai Trust Board is really grateful to NorthTec for providing a venue at short notice. We appreciate the facilities and the technology available, and that NorthTec could support this type of event.
“This is another example of how NorthTec works with iwi to support partnerships in the region. We also appreciate the way the staff worked to assist us at short notice – it is through these enduring partnerships that we can work towards examining programmes and pathways that can help fulfil the social and economic needs of a prosperous Northland.”
Both Prime Minster, Jacinda Ardern, and Leader of the National Party, Christopher Luxon, joined the event via Zoom on the final day.
Huhana Lyndon said the National Iwi Chairs Forum’s process was to work through the major issues across the country for iwi. Ideas and suggestions around the issues were then presented to Ministers of the Crown to get their feedback, with the follow-up actions setting the Forum’s ongoing work programme.
Toa Faneva, NorthTec Te Ahurei Chief Executive, said: “We were really happy to be able to step up and help out with this event. We are always seeking seek opportunities to partner with iwi in our region and this was a prime example of working together.
“Most of our ākonga (students) have not yet started the semester so it was great to be able to offer our facilities for this important event, especially during a time when we’re all dealing with the challenges of Covid-19. NorthTec staff also did a great job of pulling everything together at very short notice.”
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