The day the world changed


The day the world changed our far flung family got together on a WhatsApp group and traded thoughts, photos and the usual friendly ribbing.

In Vancouver, Katikati, Mt Maunganui, Hamilton and Tamahere spirits lifted for mums and dads, cousins, nieces and nephews, kids, grandkids and grandparents. Gosh that was only yesterday!

It wasn’t even day one of the Great New Zealand Lockdown. That starts at midnight tomorrow. But the virtual contact felt like a good move and one that should help us through the next four weeks … or more.

Worth knowing that Canada defines liquor stories as essential services! Well, they had to because grog is not in supermarkets as it is here. And, as we all know, supermarkets are essential services in NZ. And will stay open.

Also, from Canada, at 7pm every night, people go out on to their balconies to applaud healthcare workers, supermarket staff, cleaners, bus drivers and all those still keeping the place running. The Canadians are already a week into their lock down so they’ve had more time to mull on things … and figure out what to be grateful for.

We can be grateful that we’re a food producing nation. Kiwis only eat about 20% of the huge volumes our farmers and growers pump out; 80% is exported (including toilet paper!). But, still, some people will be going hungry. Kids who usually get a meal at school, families who have relied lately on food parcels, and anyone who didn’t have the money to buy a few staples before the supermarket shelves were cleared in unholy panic buying.

Ruth Barrowclough, the manager of the Hamilton Foodbank, said Hamilton social service organisations, including the Salvation Army and the Foodbank, are coming together to ensure some support can continue for the vulnerable community. It’s not a simple thing during a nationwide lock down because most of the work of redistributing food is done by volunteers but a plan is being worked on.

Ruth Barrowclough
Hamilton Foodbank manager Ruth Barrowclough.

UPDATE (30.3.20) To make a donation to the Foodbank in Hamilton, deposit cash in its ASB bank account: 12-3122-0122595-01

Another option for Hamilton (or anywhere around NZ) click here for the Foodbank Project.

The charity Kids Can is also planning to get the food it normally supplies to schools out to needy families, possibly using the schools as food hubs.

Meanwhile, what can we do to keep ourselves and the kids occupied here in iso?

The libraries are closed but their e-collections – e-books, e-magazines, e-Audiobooks and e-newspapers – are freely available on many devices and computers. Check it out here.

RNZ’s podcasts and series, including for kids, are a goldmine of entertainment and information. They range from fashion – My Heels are Killing Me – to NZ history – The Aotearoa History Show – to the best of kids Storytime and Nanogirl’s Great Science Adventures. Get your ears on here.

Or maybe it’s time to clean out the garage, weed the garden, exercise with an online class like Move it Mama or study at home in a MOOC – massive open online course – of which there are nearly three thousand here alone.

Or maybe you’ve got an expertise or interest that you’d like to share with the rest of us. Feel free to take to the comment section below. Or I’d be delighted to receive columns that could be posted on Tamahere Forum. Email contributions to

Take care out there.

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