One of New Zealand’s most pristine holiday spots in Northland is out of bounds this summer.
Maitai Bay in the Karikari Peninsula will stay closed throughout the busy period, iwi saying the area's low vaccination leaving locals too vulnerable to Covid.
“Because we are unprotected. And it's not only that we are unprotected, it's that the health resources that we have up there in the Far North are already overstretched now," Ngāti Kahu’s Margaret Mutu said.
Despite iwi leaders' best efforts, only 53 per cent of residents on the Karikari Peninsula are double-vaxxed.
“We aren't vaxxed out here, we don't believe in none of that nonsense," a resident told 1News.
DOC says Maitai Bay is public conservation land with some iwi disputing that, and the issue's before the Waitangi Tribunal.
“they're trying to do what's best for their community but I'm sure that they have to manage both the economic and the as well as the health concerns,” Far North District councillor Felicity Foy said.
“Delta isn't going anywhere, Covid isn't going anywhere.”
It's a touchy issue for some, while filming this story 1News was confronted by one iwi representative angry at media coverage. we were forced to leave, despite being on a public road.
Some doubt that shutting the campground will keep locals safe.
DOC says they are still negotiating its reopening, in the meantime holiday makers will need to seek out other beaches.