A meeting is taking place today to discuss fresh plans to protect the Far North from the threat of Covid on the eve of thousands of Aucklanders flooding the region for the three-day anniversary weekend.
Tai Tokerau border control spokesman Hone Harawira says his group will not stop trying to find ways to protect one of the most marginalised communities in the country in the face of the latest outbreak involving an Auckland family that caught the infection in managed isolation.
They planned to meet later today to discuss future plans.
Earlier this week the self-styled border patrol was shut down by police after setting up a checkpoint at Waiomio on State Highway 1 just south of Kawakawa.
Road cones were used to divert traffic off the road and into a layby where motorists were handed Covid-19 information at a makeshift "iwi information centre".
The border group, founded by Harawira, said the checkpoints were in response to the Northland community case and two cases in Auckland that emerged in recent days.
This morning Harawira said the latest outbreak of the South African variant posed a fatal threat to many in Northland communities who were already marginalised by poverty and ill health.
"South African Covid-19 might be new, but we already know its 50 per cent more contagious than Covid-19, less responsive to vaccines, and is responsible for the huge surge in South African cases from 2000 a day to 18,000 a day in just two months. Coupled with the UK variant which has also hit our shores, there will be more cases, more hospitalisations and possibly more deaths.
"And we're heading into Auckland Anniversary weekend when tens of thousands of Aucklanders will head north, and testing facilities will be closed."
He said the Tai Tokerau border control, with the backing of iwi, had set up checkpoints to protect kaumatua and kuia who were the most at-risk group in their community.
The group was providing information on testing facilities and medical hotline numbers in Northland.
"And that's what police have put a stop to," adding the decision would "come back to haunt them".
He said the outbreak of the South African variant and the scramble to track down rogue case locations, had caused a great deal of angst, denial, confusion, fear, cancellations and mile-long testing queues over the past 48 hours.
"And yet with all that going on, somebody still had time to order police to stop the only checkpoint providing information on testing facilities and medical hotline numbers in Northland."