Ask Louis Rapihana if his Covid-19 highway blockade is an overreaction and he'll direct you to the mass graves of his ancestors down the road.
Standing his post at the base of the Raukumara Ranges along State Highway 35, the image of those century-old graves from the 1918 influenza epidemic remain at the forefront of the 36-year-old's mind.
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"I don't know the exact numbers but I think it was up in the one-thousands that died," Rapihana says of the 1918 flu casualties in the Te Whānau-ā-Apanui iwi in eastern Bay of Plenty.
"What we didn't want was a repeat of 1918 on this coastline where we had of our kaumātua.
"We've got 13 hapu here and in every hapu there is a mass grave from that time, and we didn't want a repeat of that.
"That was in the days when they had horse and cart only, not vehicles. We are forced to do something now."
The community leader of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui has been manning the territory border along Highway 35 facing on to the Bay of Plenty since March 25.
The 24-hour-a-day highway blockades consist of teams of five or six people, waving cars down and barring entry to anyone who is not of the territory's 1000 permanent residents.
The edges of their land are manned in the west on SH35 at Hawai and in the east at Potaka.
Rapihana and other iwi leaders desperately want to keep Covid-19 out of their territory, and away from their 200 vulnerable elders.
"I'm very concerned. I really do not want Covid-19 to appear in this iwi," Rapihana says.
"I want my elders to be here for as long as we can have them and I'll do absolutely everything to protect them."
They also question the residents leaving the Te Whānau-ā-Apanui territory, to ascertain their intentions and remind them of lockdown precautions, of which many were ignorant at the beginning.
The Te Whānau-ā-Apanui iwi are not allowed further east than Opotiki town, approximately 20km west of the blockade, to do their shopping or see a doctor. As of March 30, they need a permit from the iwi leadership to do so.
Technically the blockade is illegal, but the local police are nonetheless supporting it in a spirit of "community policing to be protective".
"These are unprecedented times and we are working with communities across the country to restrict the spread of this virus," Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said.
"We are working with iwi who are taking the lead to ensure rural communities that don't have immediate access to support services are well protected.
"We are all coming to this kaupapa from the same place – out of a need to protect the most vulnerable in the community."
This police "support" was provided initially under a bit of a misapprehension from the Te Whānau-ā-Apanui iwi leaders.
Rapihana said they thought police could actually enforce their decision to turn someone around if they weren't a resident of the Te Whānau-ā-Apanui territory. But it was made clear police cannot.
"We had a bit of an issue around the understanding that we were given from the area commander to the deputy commissioner to the actual workers on the ground," Rapihana said.
"It was huge. So we had to iron that out. We needed to know what the powers of the police actually were.
"We were informed when they came here to do some work they don't actually have the power to turn people away. So that was a surprise for us, because that wasn't our understanding.
"So they can support us here, but they can't actually turn [people] away."
Nonetheless, the iwi have their own ways of getting their message across, about which Rapihana is quite frank.
"A lot of our bushmen are those people who can deal with that kind of stuff [conflict]," Rapihana says of the larger iwi members who have been asked to man the borders.
"And actually when people see them it tames it down anyway. Because they're scary people. They're not people who talk you know, ha.
"These ones who are doing it, they're not people who are used to talking nicely and asking questions and that kind of thing. So they're getting there."
This physical presence is, however, mixed with women and a diverse range of community members. The only non-negotiable criteria for participation was that you be under 50.
"The No 1 rule around it was they were not to be over 50 - that was the only restriction," Rapihana said.
"Because of the risk. Even though they say 70 [Covid-19 death rate spikes], for Māori it's actually a lot less than that.
"The volunteers, if they could, they'd all be here at the same time. So it's actually a matter of managing them to not be here all at the time and ensuring that they're all getting a good rest between their shifts.
"That just goes to show how much love these people have for their people."
Rapihana is highly complementary of the police's guidance with the Te Whānau-ā-Apanui volunteers, demonstrating how to engage with drivers and direct traffic.
"The police have their lights flashing at all times to help slow down traffic. We have a caravan here for the team that are working," he said.
"They've [police] played a huge part in us here. A lot of it's been around the safety of our own people too, and showing our people what they should be doing and what they shouldn't while on the road - how to direct traffic."
At the start of April, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui iwi went into what they call level 5 lockdown, which means they are totally restricting movement within the iwi territory.
At this point, Rapihana admitted the hardest part was talking to whanau who lived outside the territory border, explaining to them the measures meant they were, by default, outside their friends' and family's bubble.
"If I wasn't confident we wouldn't be doing it,' Rapihana said.
Other neighbouring iwi to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui also have their own lockdown priorities.
In particular Tūhoe and Te Urewera iwi - who share some borders with Te Whānau-ā-Apanui - have undertaken their own intense measures to keep sneaky isolationists out of the national park.
All huts, campgrounds and walks including the Waikaremoana Great Walk, freedom camping areas in Te Urewera, and Lake Waikaremoana were closed as of the level 4 lockdown on midnight March 25.
The announcement includes all back-country huts, designated paid campgrounds and freedom camping areas, use of boat ramps, and the DoC-managed Waikaremoana Holiday Park.
Yet it hasn't stopped people trying to use the 2127sq m Te Urewera National Park as a "return to the wild" isolation destination to wait out the four-week lockdown.
Te Uru Taumatua chairman Tāmati Kruger describes the stealth lockdown campers as seeking a "halo destination for self-isolation".
"This is where they want free rent, there's no worries about rates, electricity, police, neighbours," Kruger says.
"Just tramping to a hut and you're all good for the next few weeks. So there was a lot of discomfort [within the iwi] around people having that attitude.
"They were seeking a halo self-isolation destination and had just parked up and gone bush without any booking, so we were worried where they had gone.
"It was deploying our staff to go and look at all the huts and try to find these people.
"We do not want to be the angry policeman who goes around."
Despite around 1000 hunters expected for the deer season who typically drive or fly in by helicopter, it was the ordinary game hunters seeking venison and wild pork who were the worst "halo" self-isolationist seekers.
"And we did meet some folks from as far as Whangarei and Auckland who came specifically for that reason," Kruger said.
"They were just going to do fishing and hunting and turn off the electricity on home and got in their car and came here thinking you couldn't get more of an isolation than that.
"We said to them: 'This is not a self-isolation destination and in fact you would be putting our staff at risk. If there was an accident or you got lost we'd have to get people in to come and look for you and put people at risk. This is not a good idea, you have to leave'."
All hut and camp bookings along the Waikaremoana Great Walk to June 30, 2020, have been cancelled and will be refunded.
Kruger said for the most part those they broke the news to did not overact.
"The overseas ones [trampers] were understanding. The local ones were a little bit angry over the disruption," he said.
"Initially it was the reaction you or I would have. A little bit p***** off. But there was no arguing to the point of 'No, I'm not going to go'.
"I think they quite rightly had worries over their travel and accommodation plans, and commitments that someone had already paid for."
But while keeping opportunists out of Te Urewera National Park was one concern, catering to the 5000 to 7000 whanau spread within its 2127sq m region was also a problem of the area's vastness.
"The significant thing about our iwi is that we live throughout what was the national park.
We don't live on the verges of it or the boundaries of it, we live within it," Kruger said.
A team of 24 registered Te Urewera essential service officers have been designated to do this - with authorised letters from the Government to be out and about.
"Their role is to check and connect with the vulnerable and needy within our tribal area," Kruger said.
"They need to be visiting elderly people who are isolated, pregnant mums, Oranga Tamariki children in care to some of our families, mental health clients and families that are in a state of poverty. These people need to be visited at least twice a week.
"We see Te Urewera as a single living system, and tangata whenua and manuhiri have a special place in it."