Category : News
Author: Lisette Reymer

The lockdown woes of New Zealand are being felt 18,000 kilometres away.

In London, where there are thousands of new cases every day, but no restrictions, there are now growing concerns that the Kiwi outbreak will affect emergency applications for MIQ slots.

Squint and it could be 2019: Double-decker buses decked out with travellers pointing out landmarks where the flags seem to fly a little higher.

Life in London looks a lot like normal. The UK is still seeing around 30,000 new cases each day but while the Brits seem to just be getting on with it, Kiwis living there can't.

For those like PJ Gerbes, life is not back to normal at all. 

"I mean, yeah, I wanna see my dad, he doesn't have long left," she says, tearing up. "He doesn't have long left and we weren't expecting it to happen like this, we thought we'd have more time, and it would be like next year.

"Naively, I thought things would change, it would be easy to get home next year, but there's no script for cancer."

When New Zealand's latest lockdown was announced by Jacinda Ardern, it broke PJ down completely 

"She talks all the time about being kind, how is this being kind?"

Her hopes of getting home to Hawke's Bay are now the lowest they've been in the ten months she's been trying. 

"Waking up to the news, I just having heaps of family, asking 'what it's going to mean for your application for an emergency slot?', 'will they still do it?', 'will it take longer?', it adds so much more uncertainty."

Ninety percent of the UK population has now had one dose of a vaccine and 77 percent - 41 million - are fully vaccinated. Kiwis here believe the low vaccination rates at home are to blame for 'Fortress New Zealand' 

"If they had rolled out the vaccination quicker, there wouldn't be such a need for the quarantine and the lockdown they're doing," says PJ.

But Kiwi Londoners have lived the stress of lockdowns and while the pull home is still strong, the sympathy for what those in Aotearoa are facing is too.

"I wear my heritage and my Kiwiness on me, every day, and I'm proud of being from New Zealand, but I don't feel that love in return," she says, referencing a tattoo on her arm. 

The love that does go both ways is what keeps PJ fighting to get home.

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive