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Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  20 August 2021

New Zealand went into the strictest COVID-19 lockdown setting on Tuesday, 17 August after the Delta variation of the virus emerged in Auckland.

DOC facilities on the Hauraki Gulf Islands are closed under Alert Level 4 (AL4). This includes: Hauturu-o-Toi, Kawau Historic Reserve, Motuora, Tiritiri Matangi, Rangitoto, Motutapu and Motuihe.

DOC Operations Manager, Kat Lane says DOC has received reports of boaties visiting Auckland’s off-shore islands while the entire country is at AL4 – an activity which breaches the Covid-19 rules.

“Visitors to the islands on private vessels during level four is unacceptable,” says Kat. “If people chose to live on boats, that’s where they need to be staying. Hopping off your private vessel to go walk-about on an island compromises the health and safety of those who live on the island.”

Motutapu currently is currently home to a group of people including DOC, Motutapu Education Camp and restoration staff and iwi.

Kat says some of the people on the island live there, and others have remained to keep the island and wildlife safe.

“DOC is committed to stamping out the virus and keeping the communities and rangers living on the islands safe from Covid-19 and anyone caught breaking the official Covid-19 rules will be reported.

“The islands which are home to small groups of people are not a part of your immediate ‘local area’, but they are home to residents trying to keep their bubble safe. Using these islands for recreational activities is a health and safety risk to these people.”

All DOC Great Walks, huts, campsites and other facilities nationwide are also closed, and people must not go hunting, fishing, white baiting, tramping, skiing or swimming, or do any water-based activities or other activities that expose them to danger, or which may require search and rescue services.

People are also prohibited from isolating in DOC huts, lodges or campsites.

It is not DOC’s role to enforce compliance around lockdown or self-isolation rules. If you notice behaviours that are not appropriate, please report this to the police.

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