Far North iwi leaders want whānau in Auckland to stay there, and not try to venture north, while Covid alert level 3 is in place.
The chairs of Te Kahu o Taonui, an iwi collective comprising Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, NgaiTakoto, Ngati Kahu, Kahukuraariki, Whaingaroa, Ngapuhi, Te Roroa, Ngati Wai and Ngati Whatua, are urging whānau who are inside the Auckland region to stay there while the alert level 3 travel restriction remains in place.
The iwi were closely observing the police and Government as they worked alongside Ngati Whatua in managing the Northern Border controls and were concerned that thousands of people who did not have the appropriate Ministry of Health exemption documentation were still trying to travel north.
Only Ministry of Health-approved exemption documentation would enable people to pass through the checkpoints; letters of clearance from other sources would not suffice, and incorrect documentation was putting unnecessary pressure on whanau on the front line and increasing trauma and anxiety for those who were trying to travel to Te Tai Tokerau.
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"Whanau who are trying to get their tupapaku, their loved one, home to the north will also need to organise their exemption documentation prior to arriving at the checkpoint," Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua chief operating officer Antony Thompson said.
Funerals, tangihanga and burials were permitted under alert level 3 restrictions but were limited to no more than 10 people.
"If your region is at alert level 3 you cannot travel to another region that is at alert level 2 or lower to attend a hui mate/tangihanga, but you can travel within your region," Thompson said.
"We do not want mate uruta in Te Tai Tokerau, and we must work together as iwi to protect our kaumatua, our whanau, our hapu, our iwi and our communities," Dame Naida Glavish said.
Ngati Whatua was also proposing that along with exemptions from the Ministry of Health, negative Covid-19 tests should accompany documentation as part of the exemption requirements, providing a further safeguard to the community.
The iwi chairs urged whanau who were trying to get to Te Tai Tokerau to return and stay at home, while Ngati Whatua reaffirmed its mana as the first line of defence in protecting entry to the north.