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Flaxmere strong in the face of COVID-19


Despite the announcement of a case of COVID-19 in the community, Hastings Ambassador and Flaxmere ward councillor Henare O’Keefe says community spirit is well and truly intact in Flaxmere.

“We have seen so many examples of people really making the effort to look after each other while sticking to the physical distancing rules that are keeping us safe: karaoke events over social media, allowing the elderly and those pregnant to jump into the queue at the supermarket, a resident doing shopping for their entire street and showing absolute respect for essential workers – even applauding workers at the supermarket.

“One of the most impressive things I’ve seen is our people showing compassion and sympathy for our recent COVID-19 case, rather than ridiculing them as in other parts of the country. This is what’s great about living in Flaxmere.”

Mr O’Keefe and fellow Flaxmere ward councillor Peleti Oli have been proudly supporting their community since the announcement that New Zealand was going into the level 4 restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Mr Oli said Hastings communities such as Flaxmere, Camberley, Mayfair and Mahora had been identified as priority areas for many agencies and organisations providing welfare support in the region, and both councillors would be doing whatever they could to support them.

“Many of our whānau live below the poverty line and some can’t access help easily as they don’t have phones or the internet. Unfortunately these communities can be over-represented in terms of negative health statistics which makes them particularly vulnerable to coronavirus.”

Both councillors reiterated the government message to stay home.

“It’s important we remember that message. It’s a worrying time for the likes of our Pacific community who may have up to four or five generations living in one home - if one person gets sick, it will potentially spread between everyone in that home.

“We are so proud of how Flaxmere is managing and supporting one another – it’s truly inspiring.  Regardless of what the next weeks and months hold, if we follow the rules and continue to show this kindness in our community, we will get through this.”

16 April 2020

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