Northern iwi chairs concerned about thousands trying to cross borders

By Te Ao - Māori News

Te Kahu o Taonui are concerned that thousands of people without appropriate Ministry of Health exemption documentation are still trying to get through the northern borders.

In a media statement, the northland collective of iwi chairs said they are urging whānau who are trying to get to Te Tai Tokerau to "please return and stay at home".

They say they are closely observing the police and government as they work alongside Ngāti Whātua in managing the northern border controls.

Incorrect documentation is putting unnecessary pressure on whānau on the front line and increasing trauma and anxiety on those who are trying to travel to Te Tai Tokerau, the statement says.

“Whānau who are trying to get their tūpāpaku, their loved one, home to the north will also need to organise their exemptions documentation prior to arriving at the checkpoint," Te Runanga o Ngāti Whātua spokesperson Antony Thompson says.

Te Kahu o Taonui says funerals, tangihanga and burials are allowed at alert level 3 but are limited to 10 people or under. Formal hui mate/tangihanga involving large gatherings in excess of 10 whānau cannot take place.

"If your region is at alert level 3, you cannot travel to another region that is at alert level 2 or lower to attend a hui mate/tangihanga but you can travel within your region."

The statement says Dame Naida Glavish has stated that “we do not want Mate Urutā in Te Tai Tokerau and we must work together as iwi to protect our kaumātua, our whānau, our hapū, our iwi and our communities.”

Ngāti Whātua are also proposing that along with exemptions from the Ministry of Health, negative Covid-19 tests should accompany documentation as part of the exemption requirements to provide a further safeguard to the community.