Episode 1: We Prepared

From Kei Roto i te Miru: Inside the Bubble, 4:52 pm on 22 March 2021

When the prime minister appears on your TV flanked by two New Zealand flags you know things are getting serious, but how do you prepare for an invisible threat? In this episode whānau and health and airline workers talk about how they got ready.

In March 2020, the team of five million prepared for level four lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Photo: Supplied We Prepared

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There was not much time, and it all seemed to nurse Jacque like a "tsunami was about to hit, but no one knew when…and how it was going to be and what direction to run."

Health care workers all over the country struggled as they and the Ministry of Health worked it all out – masks, no masks? Full PPE gear when seeing patients at low risk? What did the World Health Organisation say? What were other countries doing? Although it did settle into a strange new routine, for Jacque managing work and family life and keeping everyone safe, remained a challenge.

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Graffiti during lockdown: Exciting Times for Misanthropes on wall in Island Bay, Wellington. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Ballofstring

Angelique Tuaputa, a library worker in Auckland, was not quite so ready as Jacque in the lead up to lockdown.

"I was away with the fairies," she laughed, ‘But my sister was very focused."

Angelique and her sister went on a panic shop for their household of three, remembering their Dad’s message that the "welfare system" to look after yourself and others should apply – so there is not only enough for the household, but for those in need. Angelique remembered; "It was very full speed, it was a blur, but it was very exciting and strange at the same time to see how people could react to certain situations that were not normal to them."

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Angelique Tuaputa Photo: Supplied

Albert Traill knew exactly what was happening as his shifts disappeared as an Air NZ flight attendant.

"The heaviness and the gravity of the situation… fully set in when we heard the words of the Prime Minister say we are going to lockdown the country," he said.

But the difficulties he faced did not stop Albert having a good time and making the most of family being together in isolation. Between joking about putting out the blue tooth speaker in the backyard and cranking it up to play the dystopian horror film siren from The Purge at 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March, to continuing to teach Fijian dance classes with his kids online, Albert enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with family and the wider community.

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Albert Traill teaching his children Fijian Dance. Photo: Supplied

In this first episode of a five part series Kei Roto I Te Miru: Inside the Bubble, listen as Jacque, Angelique and Albert’s experiences of the 2020 lockdown are explored through their stories told to community oral historians working with Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Auckland Libraries.

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