Families of returnees to Rarotonga happy despite quarantine 

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Families of passengers who have returned to Rarotonga on the latest flight from New Zealand are happy their loved ones are home, despite them having to undergo mandatory supervised quarantine. 

This was enforced by the Cook Islands cabinet following the recent community COVID-19 cases in Northland and Auckland.

Tina Tumupu (Samoa) is happy husband Harry is home, along with their son Nathaniel.

“Very stoked, just grateful and just wonderful to have him home and safe,” she said. 

“It’s good to be here, rather than worrying about him in New Zealand.”

Likewise, Harry Tumupu (Rarotonga, Atiu, Aitutaki) is over-the-moon to be back.

“Aw mate, awesome, the best feeling!”, he said.

Harry was booked to return to Rarotonga last Wednesday, however, his flight was rescheduled to Saturday, following the outbreak of community covid cases related to the Pullman Hotel in Auckland. Approximately 70 passengers returned.

Tina says the news was upsetting and a little setback. 

“But these were the conditions and the risk that we knew that we had to take before he took the trip,” she said. 

“So yeah, we just had to go with the flow and we have to keep to the rules, and it’s the safety for them and, of course, for our country.”

The Cook Island government is meeting the bill for the enforced quarantine stay at the Edgewater Resort, where they were tested once they were in their room. 

“It’s a bit hard knowing we won’t be able to do what we normally do,” said Tina. 

“But at the end of the day, we’re just grateful that he’s safe on the island, and we know that he’s just down the road from us.”

Returnees are prepared to stay in quarantine for 14 days, however, they may be released earlier. 

Te Marae Ora are continuing to monitor developments in New Zealand.