Covid-19: Far North iwi group says road checkpoints will return – Stuff.co.nz

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Checkpoints will be set back up in the Far North in light of the new Covid-19 case in Northland, an iwi group says.

Tai Tokerau Border Control (TBC) regional co-oordinator Reuben Taipari, said members met on Monday to discuss a plan to deal with the “latest threat to people of the north”.

The move comes after a woman, 56, from south of Whangārei, tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving managed isolation in Auckland.

“We’ve been in touch with the police, iwi and health authorities, and we intend standing up checkpoints in key points across the north to protect our old people and everyone else in the north” Taipari said.

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* Coronavirus: Remote Far North communities want checkpoints at level 2

“We’re disappointed that government has not already initiated plans to protect kaumātua and kuia in the north and Māori people in general, who comprise some of the most at-risk groups to the latest virulent strain.”

Hone Harawira (centre) with two volunteers at the Tai Tokerau Border Control checkpoint, at the bottom of Waiomio Hill. (File photo)

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Hone Harawira (centre) with two volunteers at the Tai Tokerau Border Control checkpoint, at the bottom of Waiomio Hill. (File photo)

The checkpoints were set up last year during the alert level 3 and 4 lockdowns due to people breaching the no-travel rules.

Hone Harawira started running them at the start of alert level four, turning away visitors, tourists and other non-essential travellers.

The checkpoints were supported by iwi, as tangata whenua, and Far North mayor John Carter but drew the ire of Northland MP Matt King.

At the time, King said some people had found the checkpoints intimidating.

“People have been stopped doing their lawful business – one was a paramedic – and have been made to stop and take flyers,” he said.

The former police officer previously told Stuff, there was “nothing legal” about the roadblocks.

Police changed the way the checkpoints ran and eventually worked alongside iwi to carry out stops.

Back in April 2020, a checkpoint on State Highway 1, south of Kawakawa, was set up.

Denise Piper/Stuff

Back in April 2020, a checkpoint on State Highway 1, south of Kawakawa, was set up.

On Tuesday, Nyze Proter, logistics co-ordinator for TBC, said the Government was not doing anything to protect “our most vulnerable whānau”.

No dates and times have been confirmed for the checkpoints, but TBC said they would keep police, iwi and health authorities informed.

Police and the Ministry of Health have been contacted for comment.

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