Now is the time to tell your story

Written by Leane Wheeler - Now, if ever, is the time to tell your story. We will forever divide our lives into before and after Covid-19. Below are my reflections on how things have changed in such a short time. I wonder if you resonate?

Sometimes I wish we could just go back to 2019 before all this… but when I look at how life was before Covid in 2019 in New Zealand, I am amazed at what a turbulent year it actually was.

  • We started 2019 with out of control bush fires in Nelson which resulted in thousands of people being evacuated from their homes.
  • We suffered the unbelievable tragedy of the Christchurch massacre.
  • And ended with yet another tragedy - the eruption of Whakaari/White Island.

In between we had a measles outbreak, the Ihumātao protest and towards the end of the year, the heart-breaking murder trial for Grace Millane. Perhaps we went into 2020 thinking 'Phew, thank goodness we all survived that year and here’s to a whole new fresh start!'

In January 2020 my family and I were lucky to enjoy a week-long cruise on the Dream Princess, travelling from Auckland to Auckland around New Zealand. Our family of seventeen ranged in ages from two years old to seventy-seven years old and included family members who flew in from Brisbane. Little did we know it would be a long time before we would see our Aussie cousins again. We should have hugged them more that week. We had a wonderful time enjoying the delights of cruising which many of us were experiencing for the first time and also exploring our country at the different stopovers, oblivious to what was going on in the real world.

Not taking too much notice as we disembarked in Auckland on 26 January, we observed that the new guests embarking for the next cruise due to depart that evening were having their temperatures taken before being admitted onboard… that was our start to this odd thing called the coronavirus.

Nine days after disembarking from our magical week, we were firmly in reality when on 4 February  New Zealand closed its doors to travellers from China and then as the saying goes, the rest is history.

If ever, now is the time to record how life was before Covid-19 because we surely don’t know if it will ever go back to what we once knew. Our ‘normal’ is continuously changing.

Will our grandchildren and future grandchildren be saying "Gosh look, they never wore masks back then." Is this only what today’s children will remember? – I sure hope not.

Self portrait from a family member aged 9yrs of herself one day winning a gold medal for swimming at the Olympics.

Self portrait from a family member aged 9yrs of herself one day winning a gold medal for swimming at the Olympics.


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