STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINE: Essential workers during COVID-19

We are living in difficult times. COVID-19 has forced children out of schools, elderly into further isolation and most significantly, it has exposed the crippling social inequalities that the most vulnerable in our communities have endured for far too long. While the rest of New Zealand are on lockdown, essential workers are sacrificing time away from their loved ones to ensure that the country runs smoothly and safely. This mini series aims to raise awareness, encourage hope and honour our people working on the frontline during COVID-19. 

Angel Lavea has worked as Landside Operations Officer for three years. Angel is the main provider for her family and as an essential worker during this lockdown, she shares her story with us.

How has the lockdown experience been for you so far? 

Being based at the Airport and on the frontline, it’s really hard not to be worried when going to work. I know I can possibly get exposed to the virus because one of my roles includes having to interact with people in public; I have to respond to certain incidents. Thinking about going home to my family and the thought of potentially putting them at risk is the hardest part about going to work. I'm making sure I take extra precautions at work so I can be safe and keep my family safe, that’s the day to day goal at the moment.

Keeping your family safe is an important priority. Are they ok with you working during this time? 

My family really do appreciate the fact that I still have to work and are understanding. Also I know that in order for bills to be paid and to keep a source of income, I have to work to make ends meet.

Why did you make the decision to work during the lockdown? 

I love what I do in my current role as I see and know the impact it has on the wider community. Being part of the behind the scenes of the Aviation industry in Auckland where we not only have travelling passengers as our customers but the broader agencies and airlines, makes being an Operations Officer a key player in making sure the Airport runs smoothly. Also I don’t have a family of my own and my parents are not at a critical age, which puts me in a better position than some of my colleagues who have dependants at home. I made the decision to work because it gives my colleagues and friends who need to be home, the opportunity to be with their families. 

That's incredibly admirable. On that positive note, what message of hope do you have for those reading at home? 

Listen to the measures put in place by our Prime Minister and follow them. Stay home and think of your loved ones and our vulnerable community. Don’t be selfish. Be kind and show compassion to one another, as that is what will be remembered through this tough time. As a nation we will grow through what we go through and together we will come out stronger.


0800REFUGE- Women’s Refuge
0508FAMILY- Oranga Tamariki (Reports of concern for children’s safety)
0508 744 633- SHINE
0800 787 797- Alcohol and drug helpline
0800 543 354 or free text 4357- Lifeline
0800 376 633 - Youthline
0800 111 757 Depression Helpline
0508 828 865 Suicide Prevention Helpline

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