Access to Lake Taupō Forest at COVID Alert Level 3

Trustees are pleased to announce that at Level 3, owner access, including for hunting, will be permitted in Lake Taupō Forest, though on weekends only. This is the same arrangement we had when the country moved from Level 4 to Level 3 in April 2020.

We have balanced the need to ensure that our whānau can access their whenua with our real concerns that this Delta virus variant could have a disastrous impact on our people and in particular, our kaumātua. Trustees note that this level of access is consistent with government guidance (through the website and the Department of Conservation) on hunting at Level 3.

As was the case last year, it will not be until we move to Level 2 that the normal week-day access (after 4pm) will re-open.

Not having week-day access will also assist us to catch up on the backlog of work which resulted from being at Level 4. Owners should be aware that it is likely there will also be some forestry work happening on weekends – including land preparation, planting, and log transport. If these do occur, there will be clear signage to inform owners of where it is happening, to minimise the risk of interaction. We ask that you take extra caution in these situations and treat all roads as if there will be other road users on them.

Otherwise, access rules will be the same as usual – you will need a permit and a fob-key (both available only from NZFM at Level 3). Please take a face mask when seeking a permit or fob-key from NZFM office and be sure to scan in using the QR Code. Fob-keys and permits that were issued before the shut-down will still be valid.

Owners can drive into the forest, but may not hunt from their vehicles, as per the Covid protocols. We ask that you tell someone where you are going, always keep within your bubbles, and observe safe distancing protocols if you interact with others. Also protect yourself by practising good hygiene such as using hand sanitiser or washing your hands following contact with gates and gate locks.

At Covid Alert Level 3 the Lake Taupō Forest Trust Office will remain closed to the public due to being a non-essential service and staff will be working from home. To contact us, email or call the office on 07-386-8839 and leave a message, we will reply as soon as practical.

These Covid times are testing for all of us, but we hope your whānau are safe while we move to Level 3, and we all look forward to opening access up further as the country progresses to Level 2 and beyond.

Ngā mihi

Binky Ellis
31 August 2021