An iwi group is ready to bring back road blocks if the Covid-19 alert goes back up to level 3 in Northland.

During levels 3 and 4 lockdown earlier this year a group founded by former Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira set up checkpoints around the North to discourage illegal travel that could spread the virus.

The road blocks, set up by the self-styled Tai Tokerau Border Control, were controversial, but they were also credited with stopping the spread of the virus in vulnerable Māori communities.

Co-ordinator Rueben Taipari said for now the group was only lending support at checkpoints north of Auckland but could reinstate road blocks in Northland ''if it goes beyond level 2 and we think there's a need''.


While police had now set up road blocks on the main routes into and out of Auckland — which wasn't the case last time level 3 was declared — that didn't absolve Ngāpuhi of responsibility.

''If we have this kaitiaki status and our own rangatiratanga, we have to step up and participate in serious issues like this,'' he said.

Taipari and other volunteers from Tai Tokerau Border Control travelled to Te Hana yesterday to show solidarity with Ngāti Whatua and offer advice about setting up checkpoints and liaising with other authorities.

The group was collaborating with police, ''so we're all working together like we did previously''.

If Auckland's level 3 lockdown lasted longer than three days the group would consider increasing its involvement, Taipari said.

In March and April Tai Tokerau Border Control operated checkpoints on State Highway 1 at Waiomio and Mangamuka Gorge, SH12 at Kaikohe, SH10 near Kāeo, in Hokianga, at Waitangi and on the road to Pawarenga. Ngāti Kuri had its own road blocks at Te Hapua and on SH1 at Ngataki and just south of Cape Reinga.