May 5, 2020, 3:31 p.m.
Driving to ‘Shippies’ this weekend? Think again.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ahipara Takiwā, a collective representing the hapū interests in the area, established a checkpoint at the Te Kohanga (Shipwreck Bay) to protect the community at Tauroa Point and restrict visitors from entering.
As the Government announced the downgrade to Level 3, Ahipara Takiwā confirmed these restrictions will be maintained on the privately-owned Te Rarawa tribal lands.
Despite support from the New Zealand Police for iwi-led community checkpoints, Gideon Porter, one of the many kaitiaki, said a local police officer had ignored the wishes of local iwi and passed through the checkpoint.
“While the vast majority of people have been very understanding, if not totally happy, a couple of people have been less than happy”, said Mr Porter.
While Level 3 was expected to be the same as Level 4 in terms of travelling and bubble protection, Patau Tepania said there’s a lot going on.
“People are travelling all around the place now as if there’s nothing happening, but that’s not the case with us. We’re sticking to the Level 4 protocols...our stance is about looking after our whānau”, said Mr Tepania.
The land-block in question also includes wāhi tapu with a burial site for Te Rarawa, called Te Angaanga.
“We've had to take further steps and we’ve closed the gate at the top of Shipwreck Road, because a lot of people don’t realise that is Māori land and we have the right to close that road”, said Mr Porter.