Northland iwi issue a traffic alert on the water

By Aroha Mane

Northland iwi and local government agencies are coordinating Covid activities to meet the needs of their people under lockdown. But they say one problem is policing the number of people spending lockdown on boats who are entering the region.

Ngāti Wai chief executive (raukura) Hūhana Lyndon says Tai Tokerau iwi are not only concerned about traffic on the roads but also on the water.

“One of the challenges we're having is with boats and water vehicles on our coastal areas. These boats are attempting to enter places where our whānau live, and we have no idea who is on board.”

Northland iwi are calling on harbourmasters to monitor water traffic entering their region more closely.

“I heard families on Great Barrier Island are having similar problems. They've seen boats dock and passengers who aren't residence of the island are disembarking to do shopping. As a result, those who live near the coast are understandably worried.”

They are also calling for vehicles to be stopped and checked on State Highway 1.

“We have concerns that the roads are still open. If they don’t close, what plans do the police have? Are there plans to work together with Hone (Harawira), Reuben and the border control team to close on State Highway 1?”

Lesson learned from the last lockdown has seen Māori health providers mobilise fast.

“I'd like to acknowledge the role of the DHB and Māori Health providers in getting over 100,000 vaccines administered across the rohe since L4 lockdown and the increasing numbers of Māori coming forward to receive the Pfizer vaccine in the north. Iwi have set up toll-free numbers so descendants can contact them. Some providers like Ngāti Wai have already directed their staff to contact the elderly and the vulnerable to make sure they are ok,”