'Horrendous' - wahine Māori describes life in Aussie's rolling lockdowns

By Will Trafford

A Kiwi in Australia says the cycle of Covid-19 lockdowns throughout the nation has been ‘horrendous’ for her whānau.

Wāhine Māori Melissa Bowley lives in South Australia. Speaking to Tapatahi on Te Ao Māori News Bowley said the mental toll caused by rolling lockdowns, food shortages and unemployment has been tough.

‘It's just been incredibly horrendous for us. You know we've gotten through a lot of things but it's very hard for mental health for my nieces and nephews, for my children"

Yesterday South Australia entered a seven-day lockdown after the latest Covid-19 outbreak crossed into the region from Victoria. Bowley says fresh food and essential goods are already slim on the ground.

‘We can go only essential shopping. My husband went to the shops yesterday to get toilet paper, fresh meat. There was no fresh meat and milk. Not even UHT milk is available. We don’t even like that but, yeah, it’s milk," Bowley said.

Adelaide has the harshest lockdown restrictions in Australia. Government orders demand people not travel more than 2.5km from their homes.

High unemployment

Bowley says the isolation has really begun to take its toll. As homelessness rose, the family was unable to get a rental property and was forced to find accommodation out of the city of Adelaide.

“It's terrible, extremely difficult but we had to find somewhere to live, so we had to move out of Adelaide.”

Bowley told Tapatahi unemployment in the region has made life even less bearable.  Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed South Australia had the highest unemployment in the nation at 5.8% last month.

“We’re lucky my husband’s still working, but my daughter’s out of work, my nephew’s out of work. So it’s not good.”

Bowley's second daughter is a healthcare worker. She says the challenges of working in a country with escalating Covid-19 cases and more than 900 deaths has been tough.

‘She's found it really hard… mental health also. Just really hard, but she's got back into it, so it's all good now.’

Bowley says her whanau has been keeping positive by reaching out to friends and family on social media.

‘We've got a Messenger Facebook group that we post on because we have family in Perth. My sister has been in her house for the past month in Sydney. She doesn't want to leave her home, We’re just trying to be positive.’ Bowley said.