Auckland

Homicide investigation launched after grandmother’s death in Auckland

Maria Brown was found dead at her home in Onehunga on Sunday morning after phone calls from a family member went unanswered.

There has been limited word from police on the circumstances of her death and no news of any arrests, but police say there is no threat to public safety.

"After the post-mortem examination, police can now confirm the death is being treated as a homicide investigation," Detective Inspector Scott Beard said.

Arrests made after gang-related shootings in Auckland

They face a variety of charges relating to firearms, drugs and bail offences.

Police said 10 warrants had also been executed and four firearms and 250 rounds of ammunition had been recovered.

Counties Manukau district commander superintendent Jill Rogers said Operation Dairylands led to police disruption and enforcement activities across the city.

"The gang members involved in this violence continue to show a blatant disregard for the safety of people going about their lawful business.

Police scramble to calm tensions after Auckland gang shootings

There have been 12 reported drive-by shootings in Auckland since Sunday.

This afternoon, police revealed there have likely been more.

But so far zero arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, innocent neighbours say they are terrified of being shot as they sleep, with bullets flying far from their intended targets.

Manakau Ward councilor Alf Filipaina, who was in the police force for 38 years, admitted: "Never ever have I seen the prevalence of the firearm incidents that we had last night. Never."

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.

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.

Pasifika church members urge others to get Covid-19 vaccine

The Assembly of God Church of Samoa is the focus of the country's largest sub-cluster of the Delta outbreak.

The country's latest victim of Covid-19 was a deacon at the Assemblies of God Church of Sāmoa.

The 50-year-old man died at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital this week after 40 days in intensive care.

His wife is also battling the virus in hospital.

Dr Maryann Heather at South Seas Healthcare in Ōtara said it's been devastating to see the impacts on the families first hand.