Use of Mauao and Moturiki persists despite closure

People have continued to use Moturiki and Mauao despite them remaining closed under alert level three. File Images SunLive.

The Tauranga City Council is looking into fencing off Mauao, Moturiki/Leisure Island and the Matapihi Bridge to prevent further COVID-19 breaches.

All three sites are closed to the public during alert level four and three because the narrowness of the paths doesn’t allow for social distancing.

Tauranga City Council general manager for community services Gareth Wallis says council has erected large signs at the areas explaining they are closed and has localised communications sharing the message as well.

“This has been enough to stop most people from using those areas.

“However, to stop those who are choosing to ignore restrictions and put all of us at risk, council is currently looking into fencing off areas and working with police, locals, iwi and hapu groups to monitor sites.

“We have received a number of complaints and also recorded a number of people ignoring restrictions during the alert level four lockdown.

“We did see a noticeable increase in the number of people ignoring restrictions and signage over the weekend at Mauao, Moturiki and on the Matapihi Bridge.”

Trevor, who did not want his surname used, lives on Marine Parade and is disappointed by the number of people he has seen using Mauao and Moturiki.

He says large numbers of people have been using Mauao and walking on Moturiki or fishing off the rocks at different spots around the island since Sunday.

“We went for a walk around Pilot Bay and there were numerous people walking on the Mount [Mauao], jogging, running and mountain biking up, the various parts the Mount and they continue to do that even today."

At alert level three people are able to fish from a wharf or surf cast from the beach but fishing from the rocks or a boat is not allowed, according to the government’s COVID-19 website.

Trevor says temporary fencing to cordon off the area is a good idea.

“If they don't want people to go up the Mount they should appropriately cover off the pathways with temporary fencing like they do at New Year and Leisure Island in particular.”

Gareth says Moturiki Island is closed due to the narrowness of the tracks and the risk of people hurting themselves, like the incident on April 19 when a man fell off the cliff requiring a helicopter rescue.

“If we want to eliminate COVID-19 and avoid returning to alert level four, we all need to adhere to the restrictions.

“Unfortunately, due to the narrowness of tracks people are not able to maintain a safe physical distance, which is why they are closed. The more people adhere to the rules, the sooner they can be lifted.”

Police have received three reports of people in and around Mauao and Moturiki since the start of the long weekend, these have not resulted in any warnings or prosecutions, a police spokesperson says.

As of 6pm Wednesday there have been 185 breaches of the Civil Defence Emergency Management or Health Acts, with 46 prosecutions, 119 warnings and 20 youth referrals nationally, since the start of alert level three, says the spokesperson.

“Police would like to remind people to familiarise themselves with alert level three restrictions - now is not the time to become complacent.”



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@jed and Adrian

Posted on 02-05-2020 13:17 | By morepork

Your idea of one way traffic is sensible and simple. Along with the fact, as others noted, it is by the sea with fresh air and little risk of droplet infection. I really miss my regular walks around our much loved landmark and, in this case, I believe the constraints are too tight. Still in a few more days we should be good to go...


Posted on 01-05-2020 17:43 | By

I agree with you it’s a waste of money however it’s not TCC’s fault. It’s a minority of idiots. May I remind of the rescue in L4 that resulted in an emergency services personnel hospitalized as well. Leisure Is should be out-of-bounds. The Mount track however, different story. I agree with hapukafin. He makes a good call. Just the encompassing track though not going up the Mount.

invisible police

Posted on 01-05-2020 16:02 | By usandthem

If the cops did their job and charged these arrogant people then the problem would be solved but that’s a big ’’if’’.

where I rather be

Posted on 01-05-2020 14:48 | By hapukafin

you are further apart from someone around the mount than in any supermarket and there is always a breeze to give you fresh air all the time.

make it one way...

Posted on 01-05-2020 14:41 | By jed

If the Mount track were opened to walking one way only , that solves the issue right?

Mauao Base Track usage under level 3

Posted on 01-05-2020 14:35 | By

Why not have a sign up that people can use the Base Track if they only all go in one direction, say clockwise starting from Pilot Bay, and no one can pass people ahead unless there is a clear 2 metre gap.


Posted on 01-05-2020 14:20 | By

Well done Tauranga City Council. Only about 6 weeks too late. Never mind, should have it ready for Level 2.

No More Wet PC.

Posted on 01-05-2020 14:07 | By

Instant fines are needed. It is WAY past time to be warning and educating. Bring on a no excuse - instant fine policy.

fencing off Mauao, Moturiki/Leisure Island and the Matapihi Bridge

Posted on 01-05-2020 13:54 | By lmm

What a waste of rate payer funds! Sun, salt water and exercise are not friends of Covid-19. As long as people aren’t stopping for a conversation or picnic what is the harm. Really how many are rescued from doing a walk or run in any of these locations. Why should 99% of people be penalised for 1% of perceived idiots. Enough already! If you want people to stick to the rules keep them relevant.

Stupid is as stupid does

Posted on 01-05-2020 12:06 | By The Sage

You will always get idiots ignoring the laws. Trouble is a couple of weeks ago one of these idiots had to be rescued when they had a fall at the Blow Hole and one of the Rescuers broke his leg trying to assist.