Taitokerau bands together to keep virus out - COVID-19

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Medical professionals, police, iwi and community members in the North are doing their best for the safety of the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable. 

Prominent Taitokerau leader Hone Harawira says they're warning the public to understand that COVID-19 is amongst us and can kill.

There's a strong push from locals to stop the influx of tourists in the region.

Harawira says they're instructing tourists to return to Auckland to prevent the iwi from getting sick in case their kaumātua, kuia are compromised.

Medical practitioner Rose Harris says, "We are trying to keep whānau of Tai Tokerau. Māori and non-Māori safe, (to) create a green zone." 

Travellers are asked if they have travelled recently if they've come into contact with other travellers and if they have flu-like symptoms. 

If the answers come back with a 'no', they are sent to the nurses' station to have their temperatures taken.

Harris says, "When you get into this country isolate. Make a plan. We're here as a support mechanism."

In the first hour of this set up near Waiomio, a tourist turned around and several medical assessments were undertaken.

It seems the initiative is already proving to be a significant move for Te Tai Tokerau.

Checkpoints have also been set in Rawene and the northern side of Mangamuka. 

Local kaitiaki will continue their mahi until governmental help arrives.