Monday 1 March 2021
Auckland went back into lockdown (Alert Level 3) for the 4th time at 06.00 am on Sunday 28 February 2021. We had a brief 3 day lockdown from 15-18 February after 3 new community cases were confirmed. These were all in a household in Papatoetoe, South Auckland. Unfortunately, during the lockdown and while in Level 2, although many households in our area were asked to self isolate, this did not happen, and we now have increased to 13 new community cases. Plus, some of these cases have not being self isolating and went to work in Botany downs, East Auckland.
I live in South Auckland. I work at Botany Town Centre. Both areas are central to this new spread. It is close to home and it scares me each time Covid is found in the community. It doubly scares me that it is in our backyard. I am disappointed in some of the members of our community not taking this seriously.
It made me think about how we came to be living back in Takanini, South Auckland.
South Auckland is not an official urban zone, but it is widely recognised by New Zealanders as the area from Otahuhu to Papakura/Drury. This is region where both Phil and I grew up. I was born in Manurewa and then our family shifted to live on a small farm between Pukekohe and Tuakau. In November 2010, Pukekohe was redefined as part of Auckland when it became a super city, and while not defined as South Auckland it is in the southern side of greater Auckland, while Tuakau is considered part of the Waikato. Geographically speaking, these areas are all part of the Counties Manukau region. Phil was raised in Papatoetoe and went to Papatoetoe High School – the site of the latest case. Now, we are embedded in the South Auckland community in Takanini, about half way between my old hometown and Phil’s hometown.
After Phil and I married, we lived in several parts of Auckland city, but, when our children were born, we came home to our roots here in the south. This seemed the logical thing to do to be near family. I had left Pukekohe at age 20 and I was nearly 40 before I returned to live in this region. I was conflicted about whether I would still belong in an area I had not lived in since the 1980s. I had tasted living overseas in Melbourne, London and in Japan, and I wasn’t sure I was still that same person that I was back then.
I wasn’t. But in many ways, I found I still belong here. It is a place where I can be myself. I don’t talk with a plum in my voice, and I don’t need to change the way I speak to be understood. People get my jokes. Well most of the time. The dress code is relaxed – I don’t have to wear my sunday best to go the shops. Sometimes, it’s too relaxed. I don’t do pyjamas in the supermarket, but there is plenty of that going on. There are times to dress up and there are times when we don’t need too. I like that.
We are not an elite region of Auckland, and while I am somewhat ambitious, I know that health and happiness wins over wealth EVERY TIME. But this lockdown feels really damaging, not just to our area but for the whole of Auckland and New Zealand. I am hearing the Prime Minister ask us to not vilify the persons who did not self isolate, and I understand why she asks this of us as a group, but it is hard not to resent how a person could go directly from a covid test to a gymnasium and do a workout. My father would have said they must have shit for brains.
Anyway, I hope this next week goes as smoothly as it can. Everyone’s home again.
On a more positive topic – I managed to finish Week 9 of the EA Wanderlust course this week. It was a class with Kasia Avery and the topic was serendipity. I like how this one ended up.
There is still a chance that this lockdown will go on a little longer than the week, so Phil and I are trying to find ways to keep our chins up and writing and creating are one of my go to ways of keeping sane.
Bit of a mixed bag post, but oh well, that’s life.
Love Cherie x