Hunters have been caught trying to escape Rotorua in the early hours of the morning to catch the roar. Journalist Kelly Makiha finds out what happened to them as well as gives details about where hunting will be banned in level 3 despite government restrictions still being up in the air.
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Rotorua police have seized three lots of firearms from hunters who have breached lockdown rules by trying to sneak out of the district to go hunting.
Rotorua police acting area commander Inspector Phil Taikato said police have caught three groups of hunters trying to leave the city in the early hours of the morning.
He said while they were not charged, they were given warnings and had their firearms confiscated.
Hunters across New Zealand have been missing out on the prime deer hunting season which generally runs from late March through April.
The Government's official Covid-19 website said as of today it was still working out guidelines for hunters during alert level 3. Hunting is banned in alert level 4.
It said: "Guidance is being developed about hunting under alert level 3, and will be made available prior to the country moving into level 3. Please wait until this guidance is provided."
Despite the official word being up in the air, Tūhoe iwi has already said it would not allow hunting or camping in Te Urewera at alert level 3.
Hunters have been calling for the Government to allow the activity under level 3, saying it is food gathering for many people at this time of year, and it can be done safely.
About 2000 hunters descend on the mountain park at this time of year during the roar season, and the iwi was worried the influx could result in accidents and transmission of the virus, Te Urewera Board chairman Tāmati Kruger said in a statement.
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"We know that many keen hunters want to head into Te Urewera, but we are asking them for patience. Tūhoe communities are trying to safeguard everyone from the risk of transmission of the virus," Kruger said.
"We feel as if transmission in our isolated bush communities would leave us defenceless.
"We want to do all that we can to reduce risks for everyone in Te Urewera. And if waiting a few more weeks is it - then that is the course of action we want to take."
The protections currently in place for everyone within Te Urewera at alert level 4 would remain in place at level 3, he said.
This meant Te Urewera huts, campgrounds, boat ramps, walks (including the Waikaremoana Great Walk) and freedom camping areas would also remain closed at levels 3 and 4.
Meanwhile, Taikato said the hunters weren't the only ones trying to break lockdown rules.
He said police had to speak with a kayaker over Easter weekend who was spotted on Lake Rotorua.
He said when police caught up to him, he tried to tell the officers he had been given exemption from Te Arawa's rāhui (ban) placed on the lakes, as well as the official lockdown rules, from the Coastguard.
Taikato said naturally police didn't buy the man's excuse and he was told not to go out again and was given a warning.
He said despite compliance generally being good, the time for warnings was now over. He said police would be taking a much harder line.
"The first part of lockdown was educating and engaging the community, but now we are at the tail end, people should know what to do and we will be taking a harder line especially for repeat offenders."