Whanganui District Health Board and Ruapehu District Council have agreed to joint protocols with local iwi in the event of community transmission of Covid-19.

Uenuku, Ngāti Rangi and Ngāti Hāua have called for a more collaborative response to protect their communities in the event of community transmission and the move to alert level 3 or higher.

This comes after an Auckland man visited Tūroa ski field on August 9 and was later diagnosed with Covid-19. Public health authorities have given assurances that the risk to Ruapehu communities was very low.

But Ruapehu iwi Ngāti Rangi reacted by calling for a regional lockdown.


Its chairman Whetu Moataane said the district was "not open for travellers", especially Aucklanders.

WDHB chief executive Russell Simpson said he shared the concern of iwi about the threat to local vulnerable communities from Covid-19 coming in from outside Ruapehu.

"We can, however, assure people that Whanganui DHB's Public Health Centre has been carefully following up to this case which is linked to the cluster being investigated by Auckland health authorities," Simpson said.

Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron said the joint discussions reinforced the lessons from the earlier nationwide alert level 4 and level 3 lockdowns and how the respective organisations and iwi would work together to support critical messaging and other actions.

"The discussions also covered how we could jointly implement district lockdown procedures, including regional boundary roadblocks, if we need to move back to an alert level 3 or above situation," Cameron said.

Uenuku chairman Aiden Gilbert said the March lockdown had given them insight on improving the response to Covid-19 as a community.

"Uenuku agree to working together with the DHB and council as a community as our country grapples with what could be described as the beginning of a second wave," he said.

Meanwhile Moataane said iwi knew "our communities better than anyone".


"It only makes sense that we are there every step of the way for the betterment of ourselves and our communities."

Ngāti Hāua chairman Graeme Bell said: “Iwi organisations showed outstanding leadership at the last lockdown and we can only continue doing this if we are all in the same waka”.