Te Arawa Lakes Trust has put a rahui on the 14 Te Arawa Lakes over the Easter Weekend to encourage people to stay home and stay safe in response to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Trust Chairman, Tā Toby Curtis says the unprecedented move has been taken in order to support the Government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

New Zealand Police and the Ministry of Health are seeking to strictly manage the movement of people during the long weekend.

Tā Toby says Rotorua and its lakes are traditionally a popular Easter destination, and the Trust hopes the rahui will act as a further deterrent to people using the lakes and visiting the region.

“We are concerned that people will come to Rotorua and our Lakes as an escape from their current bubble.

“But we want to send a very strong message that this is not okay.

“We want to protect our people, the communities around our Lakes and other New Zealanders from the potential spread of COVID-19. Just as importantly, we want to ensure that people are not on our lakes, potentially getting into trouble, and diverting emergency services from their critical work as a result.

“Our strongest contribution to the national COVID-19 effort is to place a rahui on our Lakes.”

The NZ Police, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Rotorua Lakes Council are all supportive of the move.  

Neighbouring towns and cities have been directed to manage outgoing traffic from their respective rohe and nationally, there are coordinated checkpoints with neighbouring policing districts to ensure people are not making their way to holiday spots.

“Our Prime Minister has made it extremely clear today – New Zealand is doing very well in its battle to combat COVID-19, but we all need to stay the course and continue to do our bit.

“Please, stay home and save lives. Noho kāinga, toitū te mauri ora.”