'Living in New South Wales is scary'

By Tamati Tiananga

Every time Māori couple Courtney Taniwha-Hiku and partner Rewi Corbert step out of their Bankstown home in Sydney, New South Wales they fear for their health and wellbeing. 

"It's scary to think we've been in lockdown coming into nine weeks and our number isn't getting smaller," says Courtney Taniwha-Hiku.

Taniwha-Hiku says they are trying to cope with the outbreak of the Delta variant as best they can, as 1000 new cases were confirmed in one day this week. 

With cases continuing to rise, the former Waikato residents are seriously considering packing up and moving home to New Zealand. 

She and her partner Rewi live in Bankstown which is one of the 12 high-risk local government areas of concern in Sydney. 

"Everything has been taken away from us and what we can do, who we can see and have over to our house. But I say that is fortunate, there are not many people here who still get to go to work." 

In the last 10 weeks, the couple has been unable to return to Aotearoa to attend two funerals - the death of her partner's kuia and mother. 

"Katahi ano tana māmā ka mate, we couldn't go to the tangi, it was just he and I. We don't have whānau support," she said.  

Taniwha-Hiku is the administration co-ordinator at the Diagnostic Endoscopy Centre at St Vincent's Clinic in Darlinghurst. She said it is a requirement of her job that she gets tested every few days for Covid-19. 

"I have to get tested every three days, that's the swab in both nostrils and in the throat even though I'm fully vaccinated."

In their nine years of living in NSW, she says this is the first time they have feared for their health. 

NSW Covid-19 Cases  

NSW has recorded 1035 locally acquired cases of Covid-19 up to 8pm on Friday, and one case in hotel quarantine, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said in a press conference on Saturday.

Two deaths were recorded in the same period - a woman in her 70s at Nepean Hospital and a woman in her 80s at Westmead Hospital.

A record 156,165 people received a vaccination in NSW on Friday - more than 61,000 of those at vaccination hubs and the rest from GPs and pharmacies.