Factbox
Sites for campervans, freedom campers in Whangārei

Pohe Island carpark, access via Riverside Dr. Toilets available.
Onerahi Domain, 35 Alamein Ave, access via Onerahi Rd. Toilets available.
Water St Carpark. No toilets, suitable for self-contained.
Tikipunga Sports Park, access via Reed St. Toilets available.
Kensington Park, Western Hills Drive. Toilets available.


Police across Northland have been patrolling streets and scouring beaches to educate people about the lockdown rules, with tourists and freedom campers being directed to specific locations in Whangārei.

At least one group of freedom campers, who set up camp overnight at popular Wellington's Bay on the Tutukaka Coast, were visited by police officers on day one of lockdown about 10.30am yesterday.

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It's believed the foreigners, travelling in four vans, had been in New Zealand for a while and were from the Netherlands, Israel and Germany.

Officers took their details and directed them to one of five sites in Whangārei where they would be given instructions on what to do for the rest of the lockdown period.

Whangārei police sergeant John Larkin checks on campervan inhabitants at Whangaumu / Wellingtons Bay, Tutukaka Coast, yesterday. Photo /John Stone
Whangārei police sergeant John Larkin checks on campervan inhabitants at Whangaumu / Wellingtons Bay, Tutukaka Coast, yesterday. Photo /John Stone

Northland Police District Commander Superintendent Tony Hill said police staff across the region yesterday were stopping and talking to motorists and tourists about why they were out about.

"We are going about speaking to visitors to Northland and we want them to come to a central location in Whangārei. This is about protecting our vulnerable communities and giving these visitors the support they also need."

There were two checkpoints set up during the day - one just south of Whangārei and then in the afternoon on Western Hills Dr, also in Whangārei.

Police kept up a presence on Kerikeri's deserted main street on the first day of a nationwide lockdown. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Police kept up a presence on Kerikeri's deserted main street on the first day of a nationwide lockdown. Photo / Peter de Graaf

"On the whole, there has been good compliance with most people having valid reasons but there we were getting some people who were confused about the details," Hill said.

"We have the power to compel people to do things but we would rather people clearly understood what is required of them. I genuinely believe most Northlanders are doing the right thing."

About midday in Kaikohe there were reports of a carload of people turning up with boxes of beers for a party. Police were called and "education" was given to the people at the property and they then dispersed.

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Whangārei's Town Basin is normally a hive of activity, especially on a lovely sunny day, but yesterday was deserted. Photo / Mike Dinsdale
Whangārei's Town Basin is normally a hive of activity, especially on a lovely sunny day, but yesterday was deserted. Photo / Mike Dinsdale

And in Whangārei police were called to a supermarket after a report of a man becoming aggressive towards security staff.

Hill reiterated the clear message sent out by Police Commissioner Mike Bush that New Zealanders should only go out in their cars to get essential supplies and should not think about driving to the beach for some fresh air during the lockdown.

"We are conscious people would like to use the beaches and facilities we use all the time in Northland. But stay home, save lives. Once this passes the beaches will still be there for us to use," Hill said.

In a national statement yesterday Bush said if people breached the requirements, they will be warned and their details taken.

"If people won't comply, we do have the authority to detain them, take them to our place," and give them time to contemplate their decisions.

People would be prosecuted for "serious" breaches.

Supermarkets around Northland are still open but they have strict entry criteria, with limited entry and social distancing rules, like at Whangārei's Pak'nSave, above. Photo / Mike Dinsdale
Supermarkets around Northland are still open but they have strict entry criteria, with limited entry and social distancing rules, like at Whangārei's Pak'nSave, above. Photo / Mike Dinsdale

Bush made it clear that people driving to a park had to "keep it local" and people should not be driving "willy nilly" all over town.

"You only go out in your vehicle if you need to go and get essential food supplies, essential medical supplies or medical treatment. Otherwise, please stay at home," Bush said.

Yesterday online surf report company Surf2Surf announced police and the Coastguard would be using its webcams to check lineups and carparks for rule-breakers.

In Northland there are two cameras at Mangawhai and one with multiple angles at Sandy Bay.

Harbourmaster Jim Lyle urged everyone to follow the advice of Police Commissioner Bush and Coastguard to not venture out on the water.

At 10am Lyle reported the boat ramp at Opua was empty of vehicles with boat trailers.

He doubted if boaties ignored the lockdown and got into trouble and sank that a team would be able to respond.

"I doubt we would have contractors we could mobilise for a salvage operation. Pollution, debris and environmental problems would be superseded by the Covid 19 health issue. We would have to decide whether it was worth the risk." Lyle said.

"It could all be avoided by just staying home until this health issue is over."

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

Meanwhile an interesting callout for police yesterday was to reports of a couple having sex in a vehicle parked on the side of a Whangārei street.

The initial call reported a female and male kissing at 9.10am.

Twenty minutes later the amorous duo had moved to another vehicle on the same street and were reported to have stepped things up.

The caller was worried they were not abiding by social distancing rules.