May 05, 2020
Tiki tourers pulled up short at Taranaki checkpoints
The organisers of iwi community checkpoints in Taranaki say they show a high rate of inter-regional travel under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer from South Taranaki iwi Ngāti Ruahine says many motorists questioned at the Patea checkpoint claimed they were unaware of travel restrictions, and some motorists were blatantly ignoring them.
Those stopped included freedom campers, travellers returning to the region after a long weekend away and two motorists who said they were travelling to Taranaki to ‘see the mountain’ and going for a ‘tiki tour’.
Over the first three days, 28 per cent of those stopped at Urenui and 76 per cent of those at Patea were from outside the region, including from as far away as Northland, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and the South Island.
North Taranaki spokesperson Liana Poutu says iwi are concerned there is no mechanism to track travellers and to check if they have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.
Some travellers were asked to rethink their travel plans and return to their homes.
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