An iwi group leading the charge on Covid checkpoints within Northland says the message about avoiding non-essential travel is getting through.
On Saturday Ngāti Hine, with police, Taitokerau Border Control (TBC) and traffic management firm Kia Tupato, set up a checkpoint on State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa to catch motorists flouting Covid level 3 rules.
Today checkpoints were set up at Te Ngaere Bay, on the east coast north of Matauri Bay, and at the Kawakawa roundabout, TBC co-ordinator Rueben Taipari said.
Members also checked Paihia and Waitangi and found traffic was light in all areas.
Taipari said the message about limiting travel to essential purposes was getting through.
He also believed it was because the group had made it known from Friday — when it first seemed likely Northland would return to level 3 — that checkpoints would be going up.
"We made sure people knew it wasn't a good weekend to take a holiday up north," he said.
While the checkpoint only started turning cars back on Saturday morning they had been on site and making themselves visible at Waiomio from Friday.
He had seen the impact Covid restrictions were having on businesses in places like Paihia.
"But if we do it hard and fast and don't muck around we can get back to normal life, instead of being locked down for weeks or months," he said.
While overall traffic was light Ngāti Hine leader Pita Tipene said "more cars than ever" were turned back.
They included a man driving to Oromahoe to buy a piece of cheese.
"We asked him if he lived only on cheese, and even if he did, whether he was unable to buy cheese close to his home."
With no fixed checkpoint at Waiomio today police agreed to carry out patrols around Kawakawa and Moerewa and out into the countryside.
"Ngāti Hine will continue to work with police in a variety of ways to keep the community safe," he said.
Volunteer Rowena Tana said some motorists regarded the checkpoint as a nuisance but 75 per cent understood the importance of preventing the spread of Delta virus.
The Waiomio checkpoint has been dubbed Te Purunga o Ngāti Hine or "The Plug of Ngāti Hine", because it aims to plus a gap in Covid defences.