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Covid-19: Border Exemptions for Waikato Residents in Need of Food

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Waikato residents caught in a bespoke level 4 blockade will be allowed to cross the food border.

Concerns about foodless residents emerged after several settlements near the Auckland-Waikato border north of Hauraki were closed.

The temporary restrictions are in effect until Friday and come after three Covid-19 community cases were discovered in Kaiaua and Whakatwai.

Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams said the lack of information about the premature blockade has caused frustration among residents, but measures are being taken to ensure no one goes hungry.

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Residents are now able to travel to Pkeno, so they will be able to get groceries and things, Adams said.

Those traveling to Pkeno, which is included in the Aucklands alarm zone, will need to carry an ID and address proof.

Hauraki County Mayor Toby Adams says the lack of details about the Hauraki level 4 blockade in the north has caused disappointments (file photo).

Tom Lee / Stuff

Hauraki County Mayor Toby Adams says the lack of details about the Hauraki level 4 blockade in the north has caused disappointments (file photo).

Pkeno has a Countdown supermarket as well as several restaurants.

A Kaiaua resident contacted stuff to say some elderly residents feared they would run out of food after the Government block call on Monday. Adams has heard similar remarks.

If anyone has any concerns, he should not hesitate to contact the council office, and make sure the right person to contact, and they will make sure their needs are met, Adams said.

We do not want anyone to go without or no one to worry.

The Pink Kaiaua store will reopen for business on Wednesday.

Christel Yardley / Stuff

The Pink Kaiaua store will reopen for business on Wednesday.

Adams said he had heard whispers that food packages could also be arranged for residents, but no details have been confirmed.

If there is a need for food parcels, then find something, regardless of whether it is with the local Mori trust board, whatever. We would have no one to go without food.

Kaiaua, Whakatwai and several other Hauraki settlements in the north are included in the new level 4 area and sit within a stone of the Auckland-Waikato border. Kaiaua is located about 32 km northeast of Pkeno.

Kaiaua and Whakatwai are mostly known as bach towns with vacationers filling them out on weekends and in the summer months. About 300 inhabitants live there forever.

Lynn Harvey, owner of The Pink Shop Kaiaua closed her store on Tuesday but will reopen Wednesday morning.

Residents in the cars line up for testing the Covid-19 at the Wharekawa Marae in Whakatiwai on Monday (file photo).

Christel Yardley / Stuff

Residents in the cars line up for testing the Covid-19 at the Wharekawa Marae in Whakatiwai on Monday (file photo).

Supplies of milk, bread and vegetables are expected to be delivered to her store early in the morning.

I closed the store for a day because I wanted to clean it, but also wed out bread and milk which are the main products. I just didn’t want to disappoint anyone by saying we didn’t, Harvey said.

I am confident suppliers will come on Wednesday because they have always delivered during past blockages. Between us and the local gas station, I am sure I will be able to accommodate everyone for the next few days.

Harvey said food delivery services, such as Hello Fresh and My Food Bag, are popular with some residents trying to avoid visiting the supermarket during the coronavirus outbreak. Those services have worked during previous blockages.

I know mail is still passing and people are getting packages they bought online. It was definitely disturbing [on Monday] when everyone was talking about Covid. But we decided to continue as usual, she said.

Three members of a Kaiaua / Whakatwai household tested positive for the virus after coming into contact with an infected inmate. Two of the family members attended Mangatangi School about 12 km southwest of Kaiaua causing the school to close. At least one student was symptomatic at school on Thursday.

GAS Kaiaua owner Mark Remnant told stuff notice of blockage was not ideal for the close community. He said residents were frustrated when an Auckland inmate was allowed to travel to Kaiaua.

Anyone who may have come in contact with a Covid positive case is required to be tested and isolated at home.

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