Police checkpoint turning people away from popular west Auckland beach

Police have been out in force turning people away from a popular west Auckland beach - saying "locals only."

But beachgoers lucky enough to get to Muriwai before the checkpoint say it is their local - even though they live 20 kilometres away.

The first Saturday of level 3 and Muriwai is experiencing a second summer. Rain has been no deterrent for those desperate to catch a wave after a month stuck indoors.

"Having all the time and knowing the waves were good and still not being able to good was a bit heartbreaking," one surfer told Newshub.

"Generally you'd want three metres around you when you're surfing anyway, so that etiquette is perfect for your bubble," surfer Sebastian Cort says.

Surfing is now allowed in level 3 - as long as it's at a nearby beach.

What's not allowed is fishing from the rocks. Police had strong words for some rule-breakers.

"Keep yourself safe so you're not putting yourself at risk or others at risk," Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers says.

For most, the only downside has been the queue to get to the beach.

"They haven't opened the carpark up, so the traffic's bit funny as you come in," Cort says.

Waitākere Councillor Linda Cooper says the carpark remains shut to discourage too many people from breaking their bubble.

"That's a strong message, isn't it? If you come to a gate and it's locked, you're not meant to be in there," she says.

The Government has told New Zealanders to stay local. But for many Aucklanders, remote beaches like Muriwai are their locals. Even if they've had to drive 20 to 30 kilometres to get here.

But police are starting to crack down. By Saturday afternoon, a checkpoint had been set up 10 kilometres away in Waimauku, turning people away from Muriwai unless they were locals.

"Many of the people who were enjoying the beach there were people from the local community. Some had travelled quite some distance to go to that favourite beach of theirs and we explained to them that was maybe not such a great idea," Asst Cmmr Chambers says.

Cooper says the Government needs to be clearer on what "local" actually means.

"If you live in Westland, you're not gonna drive from Hokitika way down to Franz Josef. Auckland is a huge region, absolutely," she says.

She says if you can hold off on the beach trips until level 2, do so.