‘I hate that I am stranded but I’m glad borders are closed’

Saturday 4 April 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local


It was less than a month ago that Gaylyn Lockington flew to New Zealand for the birth of her grandson Boston Kea Gray.

She had intended to be overseas for three weeks – but the world has changed in that month.

In the week Lockington was to fly home, New Zealand went from level 2 to level 4 within days; just three days before her flight, the country went into lockdown.

Now she’s living with her daughter’s family in a “bubble” in Tauranga. “In our culture, mum and a newborn baby would normally stay home for up to a month, so lockdown’s not too much of a problem for us at the moment.”

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Lockington has seen the flow of traffic reduced drastically, and the Greerton suburban town centre is deserted.

She only leaves the yard for exercise – and walking to the store with her daughter one day, she felt scared. The supermarket was near empty; the few people there had gloves and masks on. “It was weird.”

“From the comfort of our home we watch the news and keep up to date with what is happening, so far we are safe in our bubble.

“Thanks to technology, I am able to keep in touch with my parents back in Aitutaki.

“I’m actually scared if this virus makes it to our islands because our health system will not cope, the health department here are struggling.”

Lockington supports the ban on passengers travelling to Rarotonga during the lockdown.

“Although I hate that I am stranded here, I actually would prefer that our borders are closed so we can delay this virus ever reaching our shores or, even better, avoid it altogether.

“We Cook Islanders stuck here can communicate with each other, encourage and motivate each other to stay well, safe and healthy at this difficult time.”

Lockington wants people to take the directives seriously, to abide by the regulations provided by Health. “After all, prevention is better than cure,” she says. “Be grateful for this time in self-isolation and enjoy quality family time. God bless our paradise.”

When she will return is uncertain, but she certainly hopes and prays the Covid-19 virus never reaches our shores. “And yes, we are willing to self-isolate again when we get to Rarotonga, as we do not want to be responsible for bringing this deadly virus into our country.

“Like Prime Minister Jacinda always says, stay home, stay in your bubble and be kind.”