Te Whānau a Apanui iwi is urging all non-essential travellers to avoid coming into its territory and is not ruling out checkpoints and community safety zones.
The Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi this morning said it made the decision after growing concerns amidst increased cases of community transmission of Covid-19 in Auckland.
"At this stage with confirmed transmission of this virus in Auckland there is much higher chances it will spread to other areas and we need to reduce the risk of the coronavirus entering our community, " head GP at Te Whānau a Apanui Community Clinic Dr Rachel Thomson said.
"We are aware of the evidence that a second wave of this virus is likely to affect Māori. We will be hit harder because we have less access to equitable health care.
"Adding further to this burden for us here in Te Whānau a Apanui is our isolation and distance from the nearest hospital which is a two-hour drive away," Thomson said.
"For us, it is about ensuring we are being proactive in preventing the virus from getting into our iwi and doing what we can to protect our pakeke and vulnerable from contracting it."
"History tells us that we cannot be loose in the way we respond to this second wave," iwi spokesman Rawiri Waititi said.
He said the Iwi Response Unit was aware of the potential risks involved in making such a strong stance while the Government's advice was to remain at level 2.
"We cannot afford to leave the fate of our people in the hands of others. In the first outbreak, we took it upon ourselves to close our borders for the protection of our people well before the Prime Minister closed the country's borders.
"It was our intention then to keep Te Whanau a Apanui Covid-free and we achieved that and we will continue to do what it takes to keep our people alive," Waititi said.
The response unit meets on a regular basis and is in constant consultation with all hapū chairpersons of Te Whānau a Apanui to determine key decisions in regard to their Covid-19 response.
Although the unit was prepared to set up checkpoints if necessary, it was trusting New Zealanders to do the right thing and heed the call to not enter the iwi for anything other than to pass through.
For now Te Whānau a Apanui would be closed to all non-residents, including travellers, campers and visitors.
The iwi would allow travellers to drive through State Highway 35 without stopping and was preparing to establish a hapū response team to ensure that people were observing guidelines.