Jubilant Kiwis in Sydney book flights after COVID heartbreak

Her mother called an ambulance and paramedics had to peel off her wet clothes.

Ms Lloyd said the isolation had “completely hit her cognitively and physically”.

After booking her trip, in anticipation of Mrs Ardern’s announcement on Tuesday afternoon, she said she felt “a level of joy and excitement” she could not remember feeling before the pandemic.

Her partner, Lani Tupu, also has parents in New Zealand.

“Mom is over the moon!” he said, adding that the 89-year-old described the news as “wonderful”.


Isabella Lau, a 21-year-old University of Sydney student, booked New Zealand on the “first possible flight” on April 19 after reading early Tuesday that Air New Zealand had a significantly increased schedule since then.

In early 2020, he ran back to Dunedin “when things started to escalate” and the Kiwis were called back and isolated at home before the hotel management system.

But she returned to Sydney in August for her final year in liberal arts and science, with a degree in economics and Chinese, and stayed at the Travelodge Quarantine Hotel on Wentworth Avenue a few days before it was considered unusual.

Ms Lau said the quarantine was “quite rough” overall and she had a difficult time ending up with “not being able to go home for a week” to see her parents, sister and grandparents next door.

When the quarantine trip paved the way for Australia, Lee Tan’s mother arrived in October and kept her company until Christmas, before flying back to New Zealand and quarantined.

Ms. Lau is excited to celebrate her grandmother’s 80th birthday in late April before continuing her part-time and college studies.

Sydney University student Isabella Lau, 21, and Lee Tan’s mother from Dunedin.

“Personally, it’s probably the most difficult year I’ve had so far,” he said. “It just seems like things can be so unpredictable.”

Michelle Piho, a dual citizen who runs the Kiwi Delights cafe in western Sydney, said the change in travel requirements was “awesome” news.

Her husband, Henry, traveled to Auckland to see his ailing mother in February last year. He returned before the lock and attended a “zoom funeral with very few people” when he died weeks later.

“We will return to dismantle her ashes,” said Picho. “We will all be able to travel freely as I suppose the whole family will arrive in New Zealand.”

Henry Piho (second left) and Michelle Piho (far right) with family in Sydney.

Henry Piho (second left) and Michelle Piho (far right) with family in Sydney.

Her family of four children and six grandchildren moved into three adjoining homes in St Marys in June last year after being locked up.

“It was to ensure that we were all in the same bubble,” he said. “So three houses together is my family.”


He said “there are still a lot of Kiwis right now” and expected many more to travel home now that they would not have to spend more than $ 3,000 in quarantine.

“The biggest problem I have heard through the vine is the people who went home to sick parents … they were not given exceptions during quarantine,” he said.

“So many people went home and it was too late, their parent or brother passed by while they were in quarantine.”

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Sarah McPhee is a breaking news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.

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