Residents only!

At the start of the lockdown there was great fear over what would happen and what our communities could do to stay safe. As I am an essential worker I continued to work and travel to visit mums and babies. Not once was I ever stopped by a police car to be asked where I was going. In fact I don’t think that I saw many police cars. I’m sure they were around and I was aware of some road blocks on the harbour bridge but I didn’t see them. Maybe our community were just too good as staying safe, in their bubbles, in their neighbourhoods?

During this time I happened upon this sign which had been hand-made and put next to the road for people to see as they drove into Maketu. I was shocked by it at first. It felt threatening and I wondered if I should carry on. As an essential worker and checking on the welfare of new mums and babies I felt I had a duty to carry on and so I did. This is the basis of the midwifery profession. You carry on and we did. Our community of midwives looked after each other and forged bonds to ensure one another’s safety as much as we could. It took many weeks before we saw any PPE and we rallied around reaching out to our communities again for help to keep us safe with any masks, gloves or any PPE that may be available. The community was forthcoming and we had many donations. We thank you.

I passed the sign a handful of times through lockdown and the more I saw it the less confronted I felt by it and the more accepting of it I became. This person may not have been speaking for the entire Maketu population but one thing’s for sure and that is the need to protect their community written in black and white. Clear as day. COVID19 STOP!!!! RESIDENTS ONLY NO TOURISTS. I stopped to take a picture to remind me of the strength shown by communities to protect one another from the virus. I am proud to live in the Bay of Plenty and in New Zealand and I love the strength of its people.

While the lockdown happened my father died from Covid19 in the UK. It was tragic and sad. Lives are so precious and I am privileged to see new life come into the world. The babies born during lockdown entered the world at a time when nature was taking a breath. Surely there’s something magical in that? The cleanest air any of us have breathed in a long time was ironically during the lockdown. For now we can breathe the air around each other again and embrace our communities we have protected and we know that if we need to we can do the same again to beat the virus.

Continue to keep safe all, keep the community spirit going. Kia Kaha 💗

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