Northlanders passing through the police and iwi checkpoints are encouraged to carry proof of address, the region's top cop says.
Northland District Commander Superintendent Tony Hill said it would help police – many from other parts of the country – wave locals north through the checkpoints that start next Wednesday.
"We appreciate residents of Northland are not wanting to be inconvenienced by the checkpoints so we will be doing our best to ensure they can be waved through and that traffic is not unnecessarily backed up."
But any Aucklanders aged 12 and over must have either a Vaccine Pass or a negative Covid test result from within the past 72-hours as per the Public Health Order, he said.
The locations of the checkpoints near Uretiti on State Highway 1 and on SH12 near Maungatūroto caused some angst for Kaipara residents living south of the border.
They feared they'd have to endure the same treatment and delays as visitors despite it being their own backyard.
However, Hill attempted to alleviate some of those concerns during an interview with MoreFM on Thursday morning when he said proof of address would help police move locals through faster.
"If you're a resident of Northland and you happen to be transitioning through these areas, whilst you might be stopped briefly to ascertain where you're from and the likes, we won't hold you up very long at all."
He emphasised the checkpoints were to ensure holidaymakers followed the rules rather than police Northlanders, and no southbound traffic would be checked.
Hill asked for patience as more than 70 police supported by iwi endeavoured to stop every non-essential traveller from Auckland at the checkpoints manned around the clock.
Essential workers made obvious by travelling in sign written vehicles, such as Countdown and Fonterra trucks, for example, would be waved through.
"I want to remind people that we're not trying to inconvenience people – our people don't want to do that at all," he said.
"But we're trying to keep Northland safe and the way we do that is by making sure people coming out are safe for Northland."
Joint modelling between police and the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency showed anywhere between 7000 to 12,000 vehicles a day traversed SH1 near Uretiti.
But that was based on "normal years", Hill said, and "it hasn't been normal".
"It's not our intention to inconvenience people any longer than we need to and we'll keep track so if we think it's getting unnecessary, the delays, we'll change our plans around it."
Tai Tokerau Border Control (TTBC) co-ordinator Rueben Taipari previously told the Advocate the checkpoints would last until at least January 17 when the Government would review the country's traffic light settings.
Once these checkpoints are disbanded, police planned to carry out random checkpoints and spot checks daily throughout the region.
Hill said this was to ensure people were "moving about safely" and vulnerable communities stayed protected.
The locations of the checkpoints - which effectively cut Waipū, Langs Beach, Mangawhai, and Kaiwaka off from the rest of the region - were addressed by Hill in a statement to the Advocate.
"When deciding the location of the checkpoints, police have to take into account a range of factors including logistical and health and safety considerations."
Several readers living in Waipū contacted the Advocate concerned they would have to undergo multiple weekly Covid tests or endure lengthy queues of traffic on their commute to work.
One Waipū resident, an essential health worker, was concerned she would have major difficulties travelling to her work at Whangārei Hospital or getting groceries at Ruakākā.
She was fully vaccinated as a result of the Government mandates and did not want a vaccine passport as she was opposed to the enforcement.
When she tried to find out if she was expected to have multiple weekly tests to pass through the border she was told repeatedly by a Whangārei police staff member to contact Healthline.
"I'm just distressed. This is just incredibly stressful and it's hard enough as it is," she said.
"I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place as I'm going to be restricted to the south of the border. From the 15th of December, I can travel to Auckland but I can't travel to Northland."
The woman said she understood people were scared – she was too – but Northlanders needed to "live our lives" again.
Tai Tokerau Border Control founder Hone Harawira said the local communities of Waipū, Takahiwai, and Ruakākā had been "fabulous" in regards to the checkpoints.
He said a local had offered his land and facilities for a nearby vaccination site.
"We've had people come forward to help on the frontline and others offer to cook for us every day."
"And when they heard we start every day with a karakia, some of the local Highland pipe band said they'll come out to give us a skirl of the pipes each morning as well. Bloody brilliant," Harawira said.