8 May 2020

Taranaki iwi end checkpoints after 'high level' of inter-regional travel

6:25 pm on 8 May 2020

Taranaki iwi have announced they will end checkpoints - set up to stop the spread of Covid-19 - in the region from today.

Ngāti Ruanui iwi leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says it's been humbling that eight iwi in Taranaki have worked together on the checkpoints to help their communities. Photo: Supplied

The checkpoints in Pātea and Urenui have been run by the eight local iwi, who have been stopping vehicles to make sure they are local, and their travel is essential.

Ngā Iwi o Taranaki found there was a high level of inter-regional travel over the 10-day period from 27 April, despite the level 3 travel restrictions.

At the Pātea checkpoint, more than 64 percent of motorists were from outside the region, and at the Urenui checkpoint, 32 percent.

That data will be shared with Te Punaha Matatini, the police and the Taranaki District Health Board.

"We established these checkpoints to help keep Covid-19 out of Taranaki and protect our whakapapa through encouraging appropriate alert level 3 travel behaviour, educating travellers and reducing unnecessary travel into our rohe," North Taranaki iwi spokesperson Liana Poutu said.

"We are proud to have played an important role alongside other iwi across the country and the NZ police in limiting the risk of community transmission while at alert level 3, but we are also concerned that there was still a high level of inter-regional travel to our region despite the checkpoints being in place," Poutu said.

Taranaki iwi spokesperson Debbie Ngarewa-Packer thanked the iwi and community volunteers, local businesses and police who had supported the checkpoints.

"It has been humbling that our eight iwi in Taranaki have united in such a strong way to protect our communities.

"We are so grateful for the overwhelming affirmation and encouragement from our community and their recognition that we are committing our iwi resources to these checkpoints for the benefit of the whole region, and indeed Aotearoa," Ngarewa-Packer said.

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