Tagata Pasifika The Pacific voice on New Zealand television since 1987

Working from home in lockdown: Tagata Pasifika edition No 2

Last year we showed you what it’s been like for our team to work from home during New Zealand’s first Level 4 Lockdown. So what’s it like this time around? Onehunga-based reporter Soana Aholelei shares the team’s experience.

The weekly Tagata Pasifika production meeting. Photo: Soana Aholelei
A Tagata Pasifika production meeting. Absent is John Pulu, who got stuck in a Countdown line. Photo: Soana Aholelei
Soana Aholelei | Reporter / Director

Auckland is in its third week of Level 4 lockdown. In between weekly Zoom meetings and assignments, some of us have taken the lockdown as an opportunity to get more done in our day.

“I walk 10km every day, usually very early before work – now that I don’t have to fight the traffic,” says Avondale-based producer Ngaire Fuata. “I am reading a book and preparing two presentations and a proposal, so while I do miss the team, I have no excuses for getting these done without distractions; well, maybe one distraction — that is the fridge is too close to my work station!”

Tagata Pasifika Producer and SunPix Post Director Ngaire Fuata. Photo: Supplied
Tagata Pasifika Producer Ngaire Fuata. Photo: Supplied

A distraction presenter John Pulu is also in combat with. John, who is at home with his mother and nephew in Ōtāhuhu, says his desk location is everything.

“My work desk is in my bedroom, so that means I will never be late to a Zoom meeting lol. My room is also conveniently located far away from the kitchen, so I don’t have to visit the fridge and pantry every five minutes,” says John.

Tagata Pasifika Presenter John Pulu working from his bedroom. Photo: Supplied
Tagata Pasifika Presenter John Pulu working from his bedroom. Photo: Supplied

Grey Lynn local and production coordinator Antonia Utanga agrees. But she’s finding this lockdown totally different to 2020 for one big reason.

“Last lockdown was definitely a challenge, but with a glass (or two) of wine, it was manageable. This time round, I am 22-weeks pregnant and have had to replace a glass of wine with a glass of water (boohoo) and have also increased the number of times I’ve visited the kitchen. I’ve also somehow managed to spend more money online as opposed to what I would if we were in Level 1 — not sure how that one works!” says Antonia.

Other members of the team have being busy for other reasons. In Manurewa, videographer Ann-Tauilo Motuga’s household is bursting at the seams.

“I have a whole Sevens team under my roof. I have my five brothers, one sister and our coach dad and manager mum,” says Ann.

Videographer/Reporter Ann-Tauilo Motuga and her aiga in Manurewa. Photo: Supplied
Videographer/Reporter Ann-Tauilo Motuga and her aiga in Manurewa. Photo: Supplied

She’s finding creative ways to keep her family entertained this lockdown.

“I created three ‘Kahoot!’ games about my family, so we had a great laugh reminiscing about our childhood and learning about each other.”

Kahoot! is an online app where you can create your own quiz or choose from online options. It’s proved popular for many families and friends this lockdown. For me, it’s been a great way to stay connected to my McAuley high school friends, sharing laughs, jokes and wine over a few games on a Saturday night.

In Māngere, reporter Alice Lolohea is resurrecting an old hobby to keep busy.

“This lockdown I’m finally finishing the scarf I started knitting in the first lockdown! I’m also (trying) to complete the script for my first short film,” she says.

Reporter Alice Lolohea with her almost complete scarf. Photo: Supplied
Reporter Alice Lolohea with her almost complete scarf. Photo: Supplied

But the team knows the work still needs to be done, and we’ve adjusted to new ways of reporting.

“I’ve taken on board a lot more article writing. I filmed a lot of stuff this year, so I feel like I’m getting to exercise my writing muscles more,” says Alice.

“Lockdown has made it harder to film interviews with guests,” says John. “We have overcome these challenges by using the technology available to us, like Zoom to record the interviews. The other option is we can film our guests from a safe distance. We also wear protective gear when necessary to guard us when we are out in the field.”

We’ve also had to overcome slow internet and limited technology to get our stories to air. For a Tagata Pasifika story coming up this Saturday, I did my voiceovers with my thick wooly dressing gown pulled over my head and my laptop, which was funny and suffocating at the same time!

Most of us would agree that even though we have been here before, the Delta variant means we’re taking even greater caution. My daughter and I have had three Covid tests this time round. My daughter came in to contact with a person who worked with someone who tested positive. Our tests have all come back negative, but just having to have the test done was scary. We still need to get our second vaccination as well.

Reporter Soana Aholelei and her daughter waiting for a Covid test. Photo: Supplied
Reporter Soana Aholelei and her daughter waiting for a Covid test. Photo: Supplied

“Delta is far more lethal, and I was semi-prepared for it to reach us,” says Ngaire.

“I’m fully vaccinated, however I know I still have a part to play. I always wear my mask when I’m out walking, just as I would if I was going into a shop. Another two weeks of this is a little daunting, however it is coming up to Spring, so hopefully the weather will brighten the mood.”

“I’m more worried about our people who are working in the community,” says SunPix Director Taualeo’o Stephen Stehlin.

One thing is for sure; our team want to do our part so we can all come together again safely.

“I miss our group singing at the beginning of every Tuesday meeting,” says John. “It’s awesome, because we also share story ideas and collaborate on projects.”

Taualeo’o says he’s looking forward to “getting back to the office and seeing everyone again, including my mother and sister”.

Ngaire agrees.

“I look forward to going out to dinner with my sisters and friends, and going to see my mum.”

Until then, stay safe everyone.

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