Hikaurua Tamihana wants New Zealanders to abide by the Level 4 lockdown rules and get vaccinated so he and his whānau can return from Australia.
Tamihana lives with his wife and three children in the suburb of Tugun, which is on the border of Queensland and New South Wales (NSW).
He says New Zealanders should “do what you’re supposed to do."
"Get the vaccine and, hopefully, that’s going to allow me and my family to come home, which is what we’re hoping to do at a later date.”
This comes after yesterday’s announcement that NSW was extending its regional lockdown to at least August 28.
So far 61 people have died from Covid-19 since Sydney’s outbreak began on June 16. It is in its eighth week of lockdown but the tough restrictions have failed to bring down case numbers.
Tamihana works as a hospital manager and artist. He says the tougher restrictions have provided challenges, even for essential workers
“The definition of essential workers has been redefined. I know that just in the industry that I work in, even nurses have problems coming from New South Wales to Queensland.”
Tamihana says more police officers have been deployed to the border since yesterday and it is mandatory for people to have had at least one dose of the vaccine to cross the border.
“Given that we live so close to the border we hear sirens all night and all day. No doubt there are people trying to get into Queensland but they’re very present. There’s nowhere you can get across", he says.
“Along with that, it’s also the time or the waiting times at the border. Some people waiting for four hours, sometimes five hours and still not getting through and determining that it’s probably a waste of time even coming to work.”
Mental health issues
The NSW region set a daily record yesterday of 681 cases, and one death but it also announced a record number of vaccinations during that same time period.
Tamihana says the restrictions haven’t directly affected his whānau as they are all essential workers and work in Queensland, but for others in NSW it’s a different story.
“I can well imagine that morale, mental health issues are going to no doubt rear their ugly head depending on whether or not NSW actually overcomes or gets to the point of close to zero community transmission. That’s what the NSW government is aiming for.”