Language barriers, cordons and two-hour drives to get groceries were just some of the challenges for the Ōpōtiki district during the lockdown.
But community leaders are proud of how residents got through.
Mayor Lyn Riesterer said care packages sent out by iwi-led social welfare groups up and down the district were at the heart of the "well-organised" response, serving both Māori and Pākehā.
"The speed at which everything changed in those few weeks was overwhelmingly difficult to deal with. People were putting in such long hours to make sure things were in place ... it was a big learning curve for everybody."
She told NZME the district "still doesn't have enough internet connection" so many people used "good old-fashioned telephone trees" to keep others up to date.
One "really good thing" was that agriculture and horticulture were essential services, "so a lot of our people stayed in employment", Riesterer said.
Te Whānau-ā-Apanui community leader and Ōpōtiki district councillor Louis Rāpihana helped co-ordinate the iwi's response, including helping man the self-imposed closed borders near Tōrere in the south and Waihau Bay in the north.
He said one of the hardest challenges for the iwi was social isolation, "especially for our elderly who are used to meeting up on a weekly basis as a ropu".
He said Te Rūnanga o Te Whānau's Covid-19 iwi response team, made of 13 fulltime staff and 30 hapu volunteers worked with kuia and kaumātua to extend their bubbles at level 3.
The inability to hold tangihanga was also a "huge challenge" Rāpihana said when there were three (not Covid-19-related) deaths in the area during alert levels 3 and 4.
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"We're very fortunate that the whānau understood the risks ... should they open up the tangihanga to a public event."
The iwi arranged "driveby farewells" instead, where locals stood at their driveways to remember the dead as they were driven south to the undertaker in Whakatāne.
"It was not the way that we are used to but that's one way we managed."
The iwi's closed borders also prevented people from going to the supermarket in Ōpōtiki so "Apanui World" - a satellite New World - with click and collect shopping orders was set up by the runanga for all those inside the borders.
"We sold all items at retail price if not cheaper to help our people have the service here - so there was no need to travel through to town to get it.
"That's a service that we are looking at, how can we continue it post Covid-19? Do we have the ability to do that? If so, how are we going to do it?"
This service, and other support from the rūnanga, was provided for "all those living on the coast" if they wanted it.
Rāpihana thanked residents for their support: "It's a huge ask for our whānau ... they found the kaha and the courage."
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Kahu Abbot, a leader Neighbourhood Watch in Ōpōtiki and the town's Kōwhai kaumātua group, said elders "learned a lot from this lockdown"
"They've spent a lot of time with their families and a lot of them are on Zoom now."
She said it took a lot of encouragement for them to ask for help when they needed it, with the likes of transport and advice.
Ōpōtiki and Te Kaha rural response manager, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller, congratulated the community for its compliance in level 4.
"There were, of course, a few pushing the boundaries … but in general terms compliance was great."
He said traffic volumes were down, meaning fewer crashes, but "we want to remind people to take it easy when getting back behind the wheel".