Community Safety Zones have been put in place by eastern Bay of Plenty iwi, Te Whānau a Apanui.
From midday today, six carefully selected community members will man the western territory border at Hawai and the eastern border at Pōtikirua, 24 hours a day for two months.
Te Whānau a Apanui spokesperson and Māori Party candidate for Te Waiariki, Rawiri Waititi says:
“In light of the pandemic Covid-19 plaguing the country and the world we have had to take proactive measures to protect our most vulnerable, our iwi tāonga, our elderly and our moko.”
"Non-residents, campers including camper vans, tourists, outside fisherman, cyclists, and holiday makers are not permitted to enter our iwi territory.”
In a video statement which has attracted more then 110 thousand views, Waititi also addressed his own people:
“The haukāinga, whakarongo mai. You are free to move in and out of the iwi to get shopping, to go to mahi and for health appointments but I expect you to follow the strict health regulations provided by the Ministry of Health."
The community safety zones will be set up on the side of the road at a safe distance from any traffic, where travelers can be questioned on their health status and whether they have recently been out of the country.
Approval residential Officer, and councilor for Te Whānau a Apanui, Louis Rapihana, is in charge of approving or declining entry to iwi members living outside the area.
He said, a number of requests have already been declined and were met with abuse.
Police will be at both sites from 6 am to 11 pm daily to assist the iwi and ensure everyone is safe.
Essential services will be monitored closely by a specific team.
Working alongside the Opotiki City Council, BOP regional council, Bay of Plenty DHB and NZTA, a traffic management plan put in place.