An elderly man has been rescued from a Whangārei bush area a day after a Health Notice ordered New Zealanders to cease outdoor recreational activities like tramping that may expose participants to danger.

Police were told the man had failed to return home from a walk in the Maunu bush area yesterday about 2pm sparking "an extensive search".

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After several hours of searching, search and rescue staff found him safely about 6pm.

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Police shared the story on Facebook, saying they wanted to remind the public that any exercise must be kept to local area.

"The level 4 guidelines are clear that hiking and tramping are not permitted during this period and the public are asked to avoid these activities and avoid walking in bush areas.

"Engaging in these activities can put yourself at unnecessary risk of getting lost and potentially use valuable police time and resources which can be used elsewhere."

Yesterday afternoon we were notified that an elderly man was missing after going for a walk in bush area in Maunu,...

Posted by Northland Police on Sunday, 5 April 2020

On Saturday, Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, issued a Health Notice that provided clarity on the rules around the Covid-19 alert level 4.

The notice set out:

• Everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for essential personal movement.

• Exercise is to be done in an outdoor place that can be readily accessed from home and two-metre physical distancing must be maintained.

• Recreation and exercise does not involve swimming, water-based activities (for example, surfing or boating), hunting, tramping, or other activities of a kind that expose participants to danger or may require search and rescue services.

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• A child can leave the residence of one joint care-giver to visit or stay at the residence of another joint care-giver (and visit or stay at that residence) if there is a shared bubble arrangement.

• A person can leave their residence to visit or stay at another residence (and visit or stay at that residence) under a shared bubble arrangement if:

• One person lives alone in one, or both, of those residences; or

• Everyone in one of those residences is a vulnerable person.

The news of the rescue comes as Auckland based Police Maritime Unit shared a time lapse video on Facebook showing how many boaties they had seen on the water last week during the lockdown.


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Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website