Far North Māori who set up road checkpoints to stop Covid-19 spread now carrying out patrols with police

Source: 1News

Far North Māori who set up road checkpoints to stop the spread of Covid-19 are now carrying out patrols with police.

Dozens of cars were pulled over in Kaitaia last night, with people first being stopped by police, then a member of the Te Tai Tokerau Border Control group.

"We're just letting them know that there's free testing stations in their local area and providing them with an information pamphlet on where they can find those testing stations,” Te Tai Tokerau Border Control's Riki Ngakoti said.

Group members ride shotgun with a police officer as they stop cars, carry out random checkpoints and look out for parties.

“If we're talking about authority, the New Zealand police bring that authority, but to this kaupapa and to this message, our hapū, whānau and iwi bring that mana,” Far North Area Commander, Inspector Riki Whiu, said.

1 NEWS was present when a young learner driver was pulled over but let off with a warning.

“Tonight is about education - it's not all about enforcement. The young fella passed the breath test, he had a learner’s licence but his dad's responsibility should have been that he should be sober, not intoxicated,” a police officer said.

A restaurant owner was also stopped while carrying out food deliveries.

Longtime activist Hone Harawira, who helped set up the partnership, said it's working.

“A woman stopped as soon as she recognised me. She burst into tears," Mr Harawira said.

"She just wanted to say she'd been beaten up by her husband, she was trying to get away, she was going to drop some things at her sister’s place then go up to the hospital.

"So we're seeing as well the pressures of being locked down."

Mr Whiu said police continue to see people pushing boundaries in the lead-up to Level 2.

"There are still people that are pushing boundaries. There are still people that are travelling outside a safe zone," he said.

The Te Tai Tokerau Border Control group hopes the partnership with police will continue as the country slowly returns to normal.