COVID-19 Tairāwhiti Tourism Update

Message from GM Tourism Adam Hughes for the Tourism Industry (as of 24/03/20)

Kia ora koutou,

Yesterday the Government announced that the country is now at an Alert Level 3 and moving to Alert Level 4 from 11.59 pm on Wednesday 25 March.

You can find all official information regarding COVID-19 here:

However, at the RTO and at the i-SITE over the past 24 hours we have received a lot of enquiry regarding Intercity bus tickets to and from Tairāwhiti as well as Campervan Visitors and Working Holiday Visa holders engaged in “Essential Business”.

Please see below sector updates:


The government COVID-19 site classes accommodation as an “essential service”. “Any entity that provides accommodation services for essential workers, isolation/quarantine, and emergency housing”.

It is the individual choice of accommodation providers whether to operate or not at this time and who they choose to accept as guests. Guests will however need to stay for the duration of COVID-19 Level 4 (four weeks minimum).

The cost of any visitor accommodation stays during this time will remain the responsibility of the visitor.

MBIE has produced a factsheet for visitors still in New Zealand who need to self-isolate in accommodation this is available on the site as with all other information.

Campervan visitors will need to be at a commercial campground, classed as an “essential service”, or have travelled home before Alert Level 4 is enacted at 11.59 pm Wednesday 25 March.

For practical tips to assist with operating during Level 4, check the Hospitality NZ website here:

Information for visitors in New Zealand on the effect on working visas will be released shortly.

Employer & Employee Information

The government has announced a $12.1 billion package to support New Zealanders and their jobs from the global impact of COVID-19. The package includes wage subsidies for affected businesses in all sectors and regions, COVID-19 leave and self-isolation support, increases and changes to benefits, and business tax changes to free up cashflow.

Employment New Zealand can be contacted for questions or concerns about employment here:


Both air and ground transport are currently operating scheduled services in and out of Tairāwhiti, however, these services will stop operating for the general Tairāwhiti public at 8:30pm Wednesday.

For bookings and questions please use the details below:

  • InterCity,, Phone: 04 385 0520
  • Air New Zealand,, Phone: 0800 737 000

Department of Conservation (DOC)

All DOC huts and campgrounds are closed, more information is available here:

Gisborne I-SITE & Tairāwhiti RTO

The Gisborne i-SITE is now closed to foot traffic and will be closed during Level 4.

There are notices posted on the i-SITE  doors with any official COVID-19 notifications and directional information for travellers and locals.

The centre is being serviced remotely and you can contact staff on:

  • Free Phone - 0800 447 267
  • Local Phone - 06 868 6139
  • Email -


Many of you are providing valuable insight into the problems being faced at this time. Please know that we are escalating these issues at local and central government levels.

Please keep in touch and know that we are thinking of you.

Ngā mihi nui,

Adam Hughes

General Manger Tourism