Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi Te Whānau ā Apanui has announced it will close its tribal boundaries to all outsiders, including tourists, from 25 March to protect its community from Covid-19.
In a social media post, iwi leader Rawiri Waititi said the boundary extended from Pōtikirua to Te Taumata ō Apanui.
Waititi, who is the Waiariki candidate for the Māori Party, said a team of six community members would man the western territory border at Hawai and the eastern border at Pōtaka, 24 hours a day for two months.
"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," he said.
"Non-residents, campers including camper vans, tourists, outside fisherman, cyclists, and holiday makers are not permitted to enter our iwi territory.
"What we don't want is people and whānau to start an influx of migrating home and running the risk of carrying this virus and infecting the iwi whether you self-isolate or not. What it will also do is put more pressure on our health services and we here at home cannot afford for this to happen."
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He urged residents to think carefully about the advice by the Ministry of Health.
"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."
He also urged them to avoid any unnecessary travel at all costs.
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