The road to New Zealand's northernmost settlement has been closed by local iwi in a bid to protect vulnerable residents from the Covid-19 virus.
Ngāti Kuri closed Te Hapua Rd at 6pm on Wednesday, six hours before the national lockdown started, with only emergency services and locals on essential business allowed through.
The northernmost section of State Highway 1 leading to Cape Reinga is also closed, as are campgrounds at Tapotupotu and Spirits Bay/Kapowairua.
The closures come amid concerns about people reportedly heading to the Far North to sit out the lockdown at baches, beaches and campgrounds.
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Ngāti Kuri Covid-19 lead Sheridan Waitai said campers were being directed to Rarawa Beach until a more suitable location became available further south.
The closures are part of a range of measures by Ngāti Kuri and Te Aupouri, another Te Hiku iwi, which include delivering food, filling water tanks and setting up a dedicated helpline.
Waitai said all households from Awanui north had received information packs with an 0800 number to call, if they needed help, and an orange ribbon.
Anyone who was elderly or unwell was instructed to tie the ribbon around their letterbox as an extra reminder to would-be visitors not to enter.
The ribbon also served as a signal that people at the address had received the message, Waitai said.
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The iwi had also delivered ''kaumatua packs'' to residents aged over 60 with health advice and items such as wipes, toilet paper and barley sugars. More important than the contents, however, was the message that someone cared and was keeping tabs on them.
The iwi was also delivering food to those who needed it and filling up water tanks.
It were working closely with the Department of Conservation, Civil Defence and police, Waitai said.
There had been some complaints about the road closures but doing nothing to protect kaumatua, kuia and tamariki would have amounted to ''complete negligence'', she said.
Stranded campers at Rarawa Beach were also being looked after with supplies, health checks and internet so they could contact their families. Police were making sure they were camping a safe distance apart. As of yesterday there were about eight campervans.
Once it was safe for them to leave they would be allowed to go to a more suitable location further south to continue their isolation.
''People can find it hard to show generosity in times of stress, but if they were our children in another country we'd like to know they were being taken care of,'' Waitai said.
Ngai Takoto, Ngāti Kahu and Whangaroa hapū had since joined the Ngāti Kuri/Te Aupōuri initiative. Bigger iwi such as Te Rarawa were running their own relief operations.
Waitai said the relief effort had great support from Kaitaia businesses such as Pak'nSave and Cavaliers wholesale foods, as well as Kaitaia police Senior Sergeant Russell Richards.
■ Anyone in need of help from Houhora north should call 0800 283 353. The number for Covid-19-related health advice is 0800 358 5453.