Despite reports of hundreds of people heading north following last Tuesday’s lockdown announcement, many Far North locals say the southerners have been nowhere to be seen.
According to various popular holiday park owners, compared to the 2020 event, the current lockdown has been eerily quiet.
The Northland Age spoke with Tokerau Beach NZMCA Camp park custodian Rod Craig while out on his daily bike ride.
Craig said he hadn’t witnessed any abnormal activity around the peninsula so far.
“Compared to the last lockdown it’s been very different and not much happening,” he said.
“About half of the houses around here are owner-occupied, so I haven’t noticed anyone new around or visiting.
“I think people in Auckland should have just stayed home when the announcement was made.
“We’ve been pretty lucky up here in the Far North since the start of Covid-19 and we’d like to keep it that way.”
Hundreds of cars coming from Auckland were reported travelling north last Tuesday night, sparking a plea from authorities for everyone to follow lockdown restrictions.
The group behind last year’s Covid checkpoints said it had counted as many as 500 cars an hour heading north on State Highway 1.
Rueben Taipari, co-ordinator of Tai Tokerau Border Control, said SH1 was ”chocka” at Pakaraka, with traffic turning off to head up the east coast on SH10.
Hihi Beach Holiday Park owner Christine Kuyper said while there were a few long-term families at her park, most guests had vacated following Tuesday’s news.
“We closed the park as soon as it [the lockdown] was announced,” Kuyper said.
“Everybody who was here from Auckland and further south left very quickly Tuesday night.
“We have three families who live permanently in their campers and who have been here for six weeks, but apart from that, it’s just my husband, Jeff and I.
“We have had some inquiries since the lockdown was announced, but we’ve advised we’re not taking anyone at the moment.”
Like Craig, Whatuwhiwhi Top 10 Holiday Park manager Darlene Boyce said she hadn’t noticed any extra people around the peninsula.
“We’re still open to essential service workers and do have three lots of guests who were here prior to the lockdown,” Boyce said.
“We still have laundry facilities available to locals, but we have strict policies and procedures in place which people must adhere to.”
Further north, it was a similar story.
Pukenui Holiday Park Owner Jo Kennedy said she had not seen any Aucklanders and wouldn’t be opening again until things were safe enough to do so.
“We’ve been closed since the announcement and won’t be reopening until level 2 restrictions come into place,” Kennedy said.
“We’ve obviously got people who live here permanently, but unlike last time, there hasn’t been anyone coming to the gate or trying to put pressure on us to open.
“We haven’t had any phone calls either, so I would say people are more accepting of the restrictions this time around.
“If there have been a lot of Aucklanders travelling north then I’d say they’re people going to their own private homes or to family and friends.
“I go for a walk in the morning inside my bubble, but again, I haven’t seen any visitors around.”
In high density holiday house areas such as Doubtless Bay, two locals (who asked to remain anonymous) told the Northland Age they had seen what they thought were people from out of town in the community.
“I have seen people here who don’t usually live in Hihi,” one woman said.
One Doubtless Bay man said he too had seen a number of new faces while on his daily morning walk.
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