One of New Zealand's most popular tourist spots, Cape Reinga, is reopening today after local iwi had barred people from entering due to Covid-19.
The Far North iwi Ngāti Kuri earlier said it had blocked the road heading to the cape because Covid-19 had meant the area needed to be blessed and cleansed.
Despite opposition from local National MP Matt King and New Zealand First's Shane Jones when the road block wasn't removed in Level 2, iwi had full support from the Department of Conservation.
Te Rerenga Wairua, or Cape Reinga, is considered one of the most spiritually significant places in New Zealand to Māori, and as Ngāti Kuri are kaitiaki of the land, they say it was their duty to place the road block and cleanse the area.
“As Ngāti Kuri we have the duty of care to speak for these Taonga because they cannot speak for themselves. We have made the place safe, clean and tidy for us to return to Te Rerenga Wairua," says Ngāti Kuri spokesperson Sheridan Waitai.
A cultural ceremony took place at midday and the public facilities will re-open for all to visit from 2pm onwards.