Covid restrictions mean a different look for Polyfest celebration

However, Covid-19 restrictions have meant that the event has taken on a different look from its usual cheering crowds. While the performers are live on stage, their audience is largely viewing online.

Crowd capacity limits and outdoor mask requirements are being dropped from 4 April. However, Polyfest organisers say that it's too late for them to change from the plans they put in place under the previous set of restrictions.

Papatoetoe High School teacher, Mikaela Bayly, said she is just thankful the event went ahead.

Auckland Domain closed to vehicles due to camping protesters

They moved there after thousands of people crossed the harbour bridge on foot yesterday, in a march organised by the Freedoms and Rights Coalition

Camping is not permitted in the Domain, which lies between the suburbs of Parnell and Grafton.

Auckland Council director of customer and community services Claudia Wyss said it was working with event organisers on a safety-first approach.

She said there was no timeline for reopening at this stage and the council apologises for any inconvenience.

Volunteers put heart and soul into loading aid containers for Tonga

Tonga faces a long road to recovery, with most of the population affected by the violent eruption and tsunami that followed, and many areas still scrambling to restore basic necessities.

Executive member Pakilau Manase Lua said loading the containers has been excruciating work.

While the gates have been closed to the public volunteers have been packing the containers.

Auckland Tonga collection looking to other parts of NZ

There is currently one drop off center at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium, but it is closed today so officials can ramp up Covid measures and volunteers can pack the supplies already there ready for shipment on Wednesday.

Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee Secretary Pakilau Manase Lua said the team is working on get shipping containers elsewhere in the country.

Collection for Tonga underway today in Auckland

The Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee is organising the relief effort and plans to collect and ship food and emergency supplies donated mainly by people with family of those living in Tonga.

People can donate food and emergency supplies at Mt Smart stadium from 9am to 8pm on Friday and Saturday.

Priority will be given to people with family in Tonga, with each family being allocated a 44-gallon drum to send.

Items being asked for are non-perishable foods like rice, canned meat, as well as water, small cooking utensils, batteries and torches.

Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium to be a drop off centre for Tonga care packages

Labour MP and Tongan-born Jenny Salesa said a drop-off point for the packages would be established at Mt Smart Stadium.

Tonga was hit by a tsunami following a large eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai underwater volcano on Saturday.

Communication with Tonga has been limited due to power cuts and an undersea communications cable that was impacted.

The Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee has been created to help families in New Zealand send care packages and support to their families back home in Tonga.

Fears Covid-19 cases will surpass 1000 a day by Christmas if Auckland restrictions eased

It will confirm after its Cabinet meeting today whether to go ahead as planned and allow shops to open and increase the outdoor gathering limit to 25.

But with 319 new cases over the weekend, and more than 1000 in the past seven days, health experts fear daily numbers cases could hit 1000 a day by Christmas if the spread is allowed to escalate further.

Public health lecturer Collin Tukuitonga said it was not the right time to ease restrictions.

"The outbreak could explode and spin out of control," he said.

102 Covid-19 community cases in NZ today

The Ministry of Health said 94 of the cases were in Auckland and eight in Waikato. Thirty of the cases are household contacts.

Forty of the new cases remain unlinked and there are 199 unlinked cases in the past 14 days.

There were 60 new community cases yesterday.

All of the Waikato cases were in the Te Awamutu area, the ministry said. Seven had already been linked to known cases.

One of the Waikato cases travelled to Hawke's Bay last Friday, but returned to Te Awamutu before testing positive.

Vaccination vans hit Auckland streets to up Covid-19 jab rates

Vaccination Programme Leader Sarah Hartnall says the vans can travel to places where the vaccination buses can't.

"Access is really good for most people in Auckland. For some people it's hard and they might live rurally, they might have other access barriers.”

She says “these vaccination vans are about going to them and being able to go out on the little roads that our busses aren't able to get on."

Pacific, Maori and primary care providers picked up eleven of the so-called vaxi vans, and another thirty are set to go into action soon.

Auckland’s Covid-19 case numbers could soon surpass 100 a day – expert

There were 56 cases in the city yesterday, the highest since 1 September, with three in Waikato and one in the Bay of Plenty.

But there was also hope, as first-dose vaccination rates hit 86 percent.

Covid-19 modeller professor Shaun Hendy said as cases trend upwards, the outbreak was at a critical point.

"It is possible that we could end up in the triple digits so that's something that the government should be considering and it should be developing a plan for what happens ... because that will put real strain on the health system in Auckland," he said.