Tourists asked to steer clear of Ruapehu as iwi call for lockdown

Source: 1News

Ruapehu iwi Ngāti Rangi is calling for a region-wide lockdown after one of New Zealand's positive cases of community transmission was found to have visited a local ski field. 

Wide panoramic shot of New Zealand's Mount Ruapehu - home to the Turoa ski field

The traveller who has been confirmed as part of the Auckland cluster, had visited the Tūroa Ski Area last Sunday. 

Their close encounter with Covid-19 has prompted the iwi to rally to have their regional borders shut off.

"Ruapehu is not open for travellers - regardless of current alert levels, we all need to be extra cautious and not travel unnecessarily," iwi chairman Whetu Moataane said.

"There are enough tourists here already and we don't need anymore."

Mr Moataane acknowledged the area had experienced their own members of the community needing to self-isolate, something they want to avoid this round. 

"We have a duty to protect and care for our community and we are encouraging local authorities to step up and do the same.

"Closing our borders will eliminate the risk completely." 

Ngāti Rangi has already begun mobilisation efforts to help prepare their whakapapa, should authorities agree to lock down the region. 

While they wait for a response, the Ohakune-based iwi are asking tourists to steer clear of Mt Ruapehu.

"If people love our rohe just as we do, they will respect our position and help us to look after our whānau and our community."