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Te Urewera Closed To Public As Alert Reaches Level Three

Tūhoe and Te Urewera Board have announced that all huts, campgrounds, walks (including the Waikaremoana Great Walk), freedom camping areas in Te Urewera, and Lake Waikaremoana, will be closed in line with the government’s announcement of a level four alert for COVID-19.

The announcement includes all huts, back country huts, designated paid campgrounds and freedom camping areas. It includes use of boat ramps, and the DOC-managed Waikaremoana Holiday Park.

“The prime minister has asked all New Zealanders to return home now,” Te Urewera Board and Te Uru Taumatua Chair Tāmati Kruger said. “After that, travel within New Zealand will face significant restrictions except for workers in essential services.”

“Our Tūhoe kaimahi will be checking tracks, huts and campsites in Te Urewera and assisting all visitors currently in Te Urewera to get home, and have been ensuring no visitors begin the Great Walk in the past two days.”

“The health and safety of manuhiri (visitors) and tanata whenua in Te Urewera is paramount to Te Urewera Board and Tūhoe. We must play our part as all New Zealanders must in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

“The entire population of the country is now in self-isolation. We must emphasise that Te Urewera is not suitable for self-isolation. If you do not live in Te Urewera, while the country is at level four alert, you must not be in Te Urewera. The prime minister has urged, and we emphasise, that people must stay at home and self-isolate locally.”

“This is a national civil defence emergency and a health and safety threat affecting the entire community of Te Urewera and the country as a whole.”

“We see Te Urewera as a single living system, and tanata whenua and manuhiri have a special place in it. Our role as kaitiaki of Te Urewera in this case means keeping people safe and ensuring this closure is respected.”

All hut and camp bookings to 30 June 2020 have been cancelled and will be refunded automatically. Water taxi bookings will be refunded by Te Uru Taumatua.

Tāmati Kruger Chairman

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