This year's level 4 lockdown has been marred by its first road fatality sparking a reminder from police to stick the rules: "No-one wants a funeral in level 4 lockdown".
A 43-year-old man was found dead inside a four-wheel-drive crashed in a paddock in Peria, in the Far North, on Monday morning.
A farmer made the discovery on Peria Valley Rd, about 5km from the Victoria Valley/State Highway 1 end, around 7.45am and immediately phoned police.
St John Ambulance and Kaitaia Fire Brigade responded to the callout. The fire crew searched the scene but the man, local to the area, was the only occupant.
Senior Constable Warren Bunn, of the police Serious Crash Unit, said the four-wheel-drive lost control on the unsealed gravel road, hit a tōtara tree, and rolled down a bank into a swampy area.
He said the man was not wearing a seatbelt.
The crash happened some time between 10.15pm on Sunday and 7.40am on Monday.
Kaitaia deputy fire chief Ross Beddows said the vehicle's engine was cold when emergency services arrived.
Police were yet to confirm whether the man had been making an essential journey.
Bunn was disappointed to see a large number of vehicles on places such as the region's highways, which shouldn't be as busy as they are given the stay-at-home orders.
Under alert level 4, Kiwis are only able to leave their homes for vital reasons – such as medical treatment, food shopping, exercise around their neighbourhood, and if someone is an essential worker.
"We had four [road] fatalities last year in Northland during lockdown ... if it's not a necessary journey – stay at home," Bunn said.
He'd heard reports of people riding motorbikes without any helmets along Far North beaches.
"No-one wants a funeral in level 4 lockdown, families won't be able to go. It's frustrating having so many motor vehicles out and about."
Senior Sergeant Haydn Korach, of Northland police, said changes in the definition of essential travel between lockdowns had contributed to more vehicles on the road this time around.
He said overall most motorists were well-behaved and had adhered to rules around road use during lockdown.
Except for occasional cases where police had turned motorists breaching restrictions around.
Korach said traffic offending was "nothing out of the ordinary". Police continued to attend multiple single-vehicle crashes since lockdown began on Tuesday. The majority of which were minor.