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. 

A young Pacific Pak'nSave employee has generously shared her experience on the frontline. She does not wish to be named. 

Image by: Leones Designs / @leonesdesigns

I work in the chilled department and have been working there for just over 2 months going onto 3. What I love the most about my job is honestly the environment we work in and the people there. Everyone is so nice and always greeting each other, checking on one another and it’s just a great feeling. Working during lockdown is similar to a regular busy day but the weeks leading up to lockdown were hectic and honestly draining. It has been scary working during lockdown as there are some people who do not follow some protocols, especially with the two metres distance between individuals. However, this is a massive learning experience dealing with a whole heap of different customers from the up right rude to the most loveliest and genuine shoppers. 


It has been challenging, we are all tired from constantly trying to stock up fast enough and deal with number on demands from countless customers.  Many of us have worked 6 to 7 days a week and haven’t been able to have a proper rest from all this mayhem, but we are still trying to keep on top of everything despite all this. 
My decision to continue working was purely because we were still open and I was doing my normal rostered shifts, but was also to help my family especially with having them not working due to the lockdown. My family are very worried, they call me every day after work to see if I’m okay and where I am. Reminding me to take the essentials, sanitiser, gloves and mask just to lower any chances of getting sick. 
Please only shop if you really need to as well as know exactly what you’re coming in for. It is better when everyone is moving swiftly through the store to prevent close contact with staff and the lines can move faster. Furthermore, please shop as you normally would and not panic buy, we are staying open so there is no need to stock up so much. Keep in mind this will guarantee there will be enough for everyone and we can operate normally with our stock. 
Personally, I find it sad to think of supermarket workers as underrated as I see any and every field of work just as important as any other. I’m not surprised they are being seen as some of the most highly regarded groups because not only do they still have to go to work but they are also at a high risk of getting sick and to make matters worse, watch others still get paid to stay home, not to mention some of the abuse and stress they go through at work. 
Image: NZ Herald 
Hold off on seeing your friends and family just for this lockdown just to keep yourself as well as those who aren’t in your bubble safe. The faster we contain the spread the faster we can get back to our norm. It’s better to be safe then sorry! And remember to always be kind! We’re all going through it so please be mindful and continue to spread love and light.
Image: Leones Designs / @leones designs
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



Dear frontline staff,

thank you. You have every reason to not show up to work and relieve the worries your family have with you being in that high risk environment. However you’ve also chosen to relieve an even heavier burden by working to support the aiga financially.

I hope you and every other person in your shoes, know how much our families appreciate your service. May the loveliest of people, who stick to protocols appear more often in your days at work. You’re a hero to me.

Be well,

Hilda Fa’asalele

Malo Reina, thanks for the ‘real life’ stories you’re putting out.

I admire our people who despite the risks and challenges make a choice to do the ‘at risk’ work, and put their lives on the line. I can understand why she chose to be anonymous, however if she was my daughter I would be so proud of her. ‘Pasifika women making a difference’

Keep it up. Alofa tele from our bubble

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