What's COVID-19 lockdown like for Māori ex-pats?

updated By Mare Haimona-Riki

Around 129,000 Māori are living overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak. Te Ao caught up with a handful of them - from a working tourist in London to a nine-month pregnant māmā in Tennessee, USA.

Johnnie Kapua (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou), resides in Utah with his wife and 6-month old daughter and says that in many ways, their situation is similar to that of Aotearoa; but with a hefty fine for disobedience being the difference. 

“My baby had a bit of a cough and we didn't wanna spread that so we've been staying home.

“You can go to prison for 6 months or pay a fine of up to $1,000 if you get caught outside.

"Which seems pretty drastic because if you wanna go for a walk outside with your kids,” Kapua says.

Johnnie Kapua (Ngāti Kahuhungunu) and family. Source / Facebook

Israel Wanoa (Ngāti Porou) is a working tourist in London, England which currently has a little over 700 deaths from COVID-19 in the city alone.

“You can only leave your house for a few reasons like shopping for basic necessities, food or medicine. You can only do one form of exercise per day.

“I work during the day, during the week, I know other Kiwis living in London who haven't been as fortunate.

"Most of them had to make really quick decisions, to leave the UK and return home just because it's so expensive to live here,” Wanoa says.

Israel Wanoa (Ngāti Porou) currently resides in London England. Source / Israel Wanoa, used with permission. 

In Tennessee, there are more than 1,000 cases and 24 deaths. But that is not the major concern for Julliet Liufau (Ngāti Toa) who is due any minute now.

“Being 9 months pregnant, there is a fear that, right now our state has a restriction of only one person being allowed to go into the delivery room with you while you go through labor and delivery.

"And we are kind of worried that they might restrict that down to maybe one being able to come in with me,” Liufau says.