A photo of Pāpāmoa Beach on Good Friday afternoon has captured scores of beachgoers strolling the foreshore with little apparent regard for the lockdown.

The photo of Pāpāmoa Beach, near Tauranga, taken at around 3.30pm was sent in by a member of the public dismayed at the crowd on the first day of the Easter weekend.

Pāpāmoa Beach, Tauranga, at 3.30pm on Good Friday. Photo / Supplied
Pāpāmoa Beach, Tauranga, at 3.30pm on Good Friday. Photo / Supplied
Another angle of people on Pāpāmoa Beach on Good Friday afternoon. Photo / Supplied
Another angle of people on Pāpāmoa Beach on Good Friday afternoon. Photo / Supplied

"I know we won't be the only area with this problem but seriously!" the member of the public wrote.

"This is what is going to burst the bubble. Not everyone was flouting the rules obviously but there is a hell of a crowd down by the Domain."

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In comparison, just 2km up the road north of Pāpāmoa Beach, at Mt Maunganui Beach, there were only two people.

Pāpāmoa Beach is about 11km from Tauranga's city centre.

NZ Police's district command centre said they weren't immediately aware of any concerns around Papamoa Beach this afternoon but in a statement said they wanted to remind people to keep their activities locals.

"The majority of people in our community are following the Level 4 restrictions as it relates to outdoor activities and we thank them for their efforts," a police spokesperson said.

"However we are aware of some instances where people have continued to head to local hotspots such as beaches.

"Our preference has been to talk to the public about the restrictions in place, however if people continue to breach the rules our officers have the discretion to take enforcement action.

"We are continuing to ask people not to go swimming or surfing or to do things that may require help if they end up getting into trouble, because that places others at risk and puts pressure on our emergency services."

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A couple walk along the deserted beach at Mount Maunganui during lockdown about 2pm on Good Friday. Photo / Andrew Warner
A couple walk along the deserted beach at Mount Maunganui during lockdown about 2pm on Good Friday. Photo / Andrew Warner

Police said earlier there had been a total of 583 breaches, 74 prosecutions and 495 warnings issued since alert level 4 restrictions came into force last month.

Police have been out in force across New Zealand highways on Good Friday, stopping and questioning motorists about their reason for driving - and reminding any opportunist holiday makers of the lockdown rules still in place.

Sergeant Andy Wallace said at an Auckland checkpoint just three people were turned back for not having a valid reason for being out.

There were no arrests or official warnings given.

He said generally people were being extremely compliant and urged them to continue.

Earlier this week new Police Commissioner Andrew Coster announced officers would ramp up patrol and enforcement over the Easter break to ensure people were aware of lockdown requirements.

Police have set up checkpoints around the country to stop people who were planning on traveling during the Covid-19 lockdown. Video / Dean Purcell

His message was patently clear: if you were not out for an "essential" purpose, then you should be at home.

"We know many New Zealanders may have been planning to catch up with friends and family this weekend or travel to traditional holiday destinations, but we urge anyone who was planning to do this - please change your plans and stay home," he said.

"To help ensure people know about the Health Act restrictions, police will be out and about checking that people are travelling for essential purposes only."

Wallace and his team ran multiple checkpoints yesterday and stopped about 1000 cars.

He said for the most part the drivers were essential service workers or had good reasons to be out - getting supplies or dropping them off to vulnerable people.

Officers were mainly out in force to educate people about the lockdown and why they should be at home.

But they would take further action without hesitation if needed.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website