‘I felt quite teary’: New Zealanders in Melbourne excited to fly home after long wait

Charlotte Dallison can’t wait to fill her lungs with the air of Christchurch.

For more than a year the New Zealander has been unable to fly home from Melbourne to see her friends and family because of the travel bans caused by COVID-19.

“I knew it would happen, but I was surprised by how emotional I got. I felt quite teary.” After more than a year, Kiwi Charlotte Dallison can visit home.Credit:Simon Schluter

It’s a trip she would make regularly, often only for a weekend if she didn’t have more time off work.

“I think part of the reason you can live here for so long is that you know home is only a quick flight away — not having that available to us has been so hard,” she said.

Ms Dallison and many other Kiwis living in Melbourne will be able to do so again soon, after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that quarantine-free travel would finally resume between the two countries on April 18.

“I knew it would happen, but I was surprised by how emotional I got. I felt quite teary,” she said.

Ms Dallison, owner of an online vintage clothing store, said she was looking forward to her seeing her parents, grandparents and friends back in New Zealand. She’s missed weddings, babies being born and significant birthdays.

She’s also looking forward to seeing the sights of her home town, like the arts centre and botanic gardens.

“It’s the hit of fresh air when you get off the plane, the air in New Zealand is so fresh and crisp,” she said.

“As soon as you disembark an aircraft you can almost smell it, it’s so uplifting it makes you feel home immediately.”

Allyse Wafer is excited by the prospect of being able to visit New Zealand again. She was unable to attend her grandmother’s funeral in person last year.

Allyse Wafer, another New Zealander living in Melbourne, was checking the airline websites for flights to Auckland soon after the announcement was made.

She said she was excited just to be able to sit around the dinner table with her parents and brother when she visits the town of Matakana, north of Auckland.

“My family are obsessed with food, they live on an orchard. Our whole life revolves around what we eat next. I can’t wait to go back for that,” she said.

Ms Wafer, who works in marketing and communications, said she would normally fly back home three times a year. She didn’t make it back at all in 2020, missing her grandmother’s funeral.

Jarred Turnbull, owner of Bo Gurks bar in Edithvale, hopes the New Zealand travel bubble will enable him to find a pizza chef.Credit:Chris Hopkins

“The feeling in the industry is that when people were laid off during COVID, they found alternative means of employment.”

Mr Turnbull’s search for a pizza chef will be expanded to New Zealand, where he will place ads with job agencies hoping to tempt someone to take the job.

Any New Zealanders trained to shape dough should apply, he said.

“I think there’s a great opportunity here, bayside in Melbourne. Employment opportunities can sometimes be a bit limited in New Zealand.”

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