Ohakune-based iwi Ngāti Rangi is calling for a regional lockdown around Ruapehu and asking outsiders to stay away.

The call from chairman Whetu Moataane followed revelations on Saturday that a person who later tested positive for Covid-19 had been skiing at Whakapapa and Tūroa last weekend.

“Ruapehu is not open for travellers,” Moataane said.

“Regardless of current alert levels, we all need to be extra cautious and not travel unnecessarily.

“This is especially important for Aucklanders and those who have been in contact – close or otherwise –with Aucklanders. There are enough tourists here already and we don’t need any more,” he said.

Moataane called for an immediate regional lockdown to protect whānau and the wider community.

He said there had been self-isolators based on Ohakune during the last lockdown, and iwi did not want that happening again.

“Our borders need to shut immediately.”

He said local authorities needed to step up and protect and care for the community.

“Closing our borders will eliminate the risk completely. It’s a no-brainer and we don’t know why it hasn’t happened already.”

Moataane said iwi were prepared to lead welfare efforts in the community, and were ready for lockdown.

“Yesterday’s developments prove that we need to be doing everything we can to protect our whakapapa.”

He asked people to respect the place, and the community’s wishes, by staying at home.

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