Māhia residents are frustrated after learning Rocket Lab staff based in Auckland will travel out of the level 3 region to Māhia this weekend for a launch.
"In light of the COVID announcement from Hauora Tairawhiti this evening, Māhia and Waiora residents are demanding that Rocket Lab staff be barred entry from the area and remain in Auckland," residents wrote in a statement.
Rocket Lab has been granted permission by the Government and Ministry of Health to launch for a company called BlackSky.
But locals say the planned trip was not publicly announced by Rocket Lab and ask why its staff have been able to leave Auckland legally.
"Questions are being asked about how and why Rocket Lab staff became essential workers after previously not being recognised as essential."
Rocket Lab told Newshub the Government granted permission for a small group of employees for the launch.
"Rocket Labs launch site will operate under alert level 3 guidelines during the launch campaign."
Puti Moa Rongomaiwahine Iwi says locals feel abandoned and trampled on.
"People of the area need to stand up to Rocket Lab."
Residents said in a statement they understood 20 Rocket Lab staff were travelling out of Auckland, but Rocket Lab says that is untrue.
"The total number of Auckland-based staff travelling to Māhia is not 20. It is nine."
Rocket Lab says the health and safety of the Māhia community is their top priority.
"Rocket Lab is operating under strict health procedures through the launch campaign and following the government and Ministry of Health Guidelines."
Rocket Lab told Newshub all employees from Auckland have tested negative for COVID-19, are fully vaccinated and all staff have no COVID-19 symptoms.
The nine employees will stay in motorhomes onsite ensuring there is complete isolation from the Māhia community.