Travel to support brother in Oz means self-isolation on return home

By Aroha Mane

Kim Herewini has made the hard decision to travel across the ditch this afternoon and will go into self-isolation due to COVID-19 on her return to Aotearoa in a week's time.      

The Prime Minister is encouraging NZ citizens not to travel but for Herewini this is not an option.

"I'm travelling over (to Brisbane) to support my brother who has cancer," Kim Herewini (Taitokerau, Tainui) says,

Herewini's brother was diagnosed with cancer last year. With the limited support he has, Herewini will travel to Australia to support him.

"I'll be his caregiver in hospital for a week. His partner has to return to work and she needs a break. So I'll be there to look after my brother."

As of midnight tonight, the Prime Minister announced that all passengers returning to NZ will be required to self-isolate for two weeks. But Herewini has some concerns about how it will happen.

"I don't see how we're supposed to do that? I live here with five other adults and one grandchild. So where are we supposed to self-isolate, in the room or do we go to another housing situation like a motel? Perhaps I ask for assistance from MSD and ask them to pay for it."

Herewini has questions around how she will be able to provide for her family.

"I'm still employed as a social worker in the community. My income, who is going to pay for that?"

Herewini fully understands that if she comes back feeling unwell, self-isolation is important.

"I wouldn't be stupid enough to come back coughing, feeling unwell and not isolate myself. I'd go straight to the doctor."

Herewini flys to Brisbane tonight to go and look after her brother and is expected to return in a week.