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April 2022 Issue
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Te Urewera reopens to unvaccinated visitors

Vaccine passes will not be required in Te Urewera, including on Lake Waikaremoana Track, which has reopened after being closed for six months.

That has prompted DOC, which manages hut bookings for the lake track, to issue an alert.

‘We do not expect that hut wardens on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk will be enforcing vaccine pass requirements,’ the alert states. ‘It is important that you know this so you can make your own decision about whether you want to continue with planning your visit.’

Tūhoe iwi authority Te Uru Taumatua is in charge of the day-to-day running of Te Urewera on behalf of Te Urewera Board. 

Board chair Tāmati Kruger (pictured) said the decision to reopen the area to everyone “recognises that all whānau can benefit from being in nature”.

“We want locals and manuhiri (guests) to be informed so that they can make decisions based on their own particular circumstances, including vaccination status,” he said.

Lake Waikaremoana Track reopened in February, along with the rest of Te Urewera, after being closed to visitors when New Zealand went into lockdown last August.

Hut capacities on the lake track have been reduced to allow for social distancing.

Kruger said the Omicron outbreak made it “crucial for individuals and whānau to take responsibility for ensuring they are not travelling if symptomatic or if they think they may have Covid, whether vaccinated or not”.