A Covid-19 case has forced Te Puia / New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute to close its doors.
Today staff, contractors and trade customers were told the world-famous tourist attraction would be shut for an unknown period from 6pm, due to a confirmed case of Covid-19 relating to a visitor at the site earlier in March.
The visitor – from the United States – visited Te Puia for its evening Te Po experience on Sunday, March 8, and was diagnosed in the United States on March 18 after returning home.
Te Puia chief executive Tim Cossar says he understands the visitor was not feeling sick when they were at Te Puia.
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"The case has been reported to the Ministry of Health by the tour company involved.
"We have spoken with Healthline and they, and us, believe we are low risk. But we have had to take some necessary measures as a result," Cossar said.
"The health, safety and wellbeing of our people and manuhiri is our absolute priority, so we are closing from 6pm tonight and will not be open until further notice.
"Our people have been asked to stay at home unless they have been contacted by a senior manager and to practice appropriate social distancing measures."
Cossar wanted to reinforce that the decision had been made as a direct result of the confirmed Covid-19 case, and was separate from other work underway regarding future changes the operation may need to make.
"As our chairman said earlier this week, we are operating in unprecedented times, which requires an unprecedented response.
"The legacy of our operation goes back more than 200 years and the decisions we are working through now will ensure that legacy can continue long into the future."