Tai Tokerau Border Control continues to protect the North

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

It is now Day 7 of lockdown and a week after the first Tokerau Border Control checkpoint was established. The region is still adamant that keeping people out is necessary to protect their communities. 

Former Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira has led the call to put checkpoints up across the North as he believes that the region’s resources will not be enough to tackle an outbreak. There are ongoing discussions as to whether more are necessary to reduce the movement within the controlled area.

There are currently ten border control checkpoints across Te Tai Tokerau where tourists are being stopped and turned around and locals are being encouraged to stay home. The presence of tourists and those trying to return home from Auckland are still a concern for the region as they are a risk to the elderly and those vulnerable.

Smaller communities like Panguru and Pawarenga with a high population of elderly have also put in place checkpoints as a safety measure. 

Hokianga’s checkpoint based just outside of Opononi started their mahi yesterday.

Hone Harawira says Taitokerau Border Control has been successful in reducing the movement of tourists in the region.

However he says drug distribution is proving to be a big issue for the border control kaimahi and he’s concerned that drug users are moving too freely around the region at night.

It would appear that drug users are completely ignoring the COVID-19 restrictions.

Lewis Hape of the Hokianga site based near Opononi told Te Ao that 98% of people are happy and understanding of the operation.