Family law and mental health experts are concerned about how few people are seeking help in the region, with one lawyer anticipating a "surge in separations" when level 2 arrives.
Their comments come as the country heads into the sixth week of limited social contact
and mostly staying home.
Christie Goodspeed, partner and team leader of family law at Bay of Plenty firm Holland Beckett, said a few clients had been in touch about splitting up.
"We are starting to hear from people who are separating ... I think at level 2 we will see a huge upsurge in separations.
"Some couples have decided to separate but are stuck living in the same house and waiting it out because they can't move."
Others may have wanted to leave a relationship before the lockdown but now felt they could not leave for economic reasons.
She was concerned at how few people were seeking protection orders, given reported surges in domestic violence.
Her fear was people were either making do or locked into situations where they were not safe or able to make contact with their lawyer.
People being controlled or monitored were having to go on walks to call their lawyer, with fewer other excuses to leave the house to access help.
Goodspeed said tensions over shared childcare had been the most common calls during the lockdown.
Some "opportunistic people" were using the situation as an excuse to deny contact, even where the bubble rules allowed for it.
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Rotorua-based Mental Health Foundation advocate Michael Naera was also concerned about how quiet the lockdown was.
"I am not sure if we are capturing the stress that is happening in or community."
Job losses and having everyone home meant some families were "struggling to put kai on the table" but still did not want to accept or ask for help.
"Families can be so proud that they don't want to reach out or let others know about the problems in their bubble.
"Some would rather give their food and hygiene packs away to someone who needs it more, even though they also need it ... All the stress is just bubbling up."
Some were also feeling trapped with addictions and domestic violence.
One client had to break her bubble and "sneak across the border" between regions with her children to family to escape violence.
He encouraged people to acknowledge the stress they were feeling and ask for help.
"You have permission to say 'it's not okay', and you are not the only one. It's about not being ashamed about reaching out to support your bubble."
Naera advised against trying to deal with a heap of issues at once.
"Sit down and pull all the problems experienced in the bubble out. Look at how to deal with each one separately to make it more manageable."
Tips for handling tension in the bubble
We spoke to Tauranga-based psychologist and energy healer Kati Ludwig and counsellor of 23 years Robyn Haakar for advice for people dealing with tensions in their bubble relationships.
Both recommended acknowledging the abnormality of the situation and understanding your own needs and feelings before hurtling into a confrontation with someone else in the house.
Haakar said boundaries and finding a way to ground yourself were important.
Each person needed their own space in the home to be alone in, even if it was a corner of a room.
If one person wanted to talk and the other was not ready, both should take some space separately and agree a time to talk later.
If talking was too confrontational, writing could be helpful. Journalling could also help people understand and defuse their feelings.
"You can offload without having to hurt the other person."
Ludwig said you could look to find space within yourself - a bit of quiet time to meditate, nap, do yoga, walk, cook a beautiful meal or otherwise relax and feel grounded.
"Consider how to use your inner resources, things like emotional capacity and energy levels. Ask the question: 'What is it I really need in this moment?' Often times, it is space and time to reflect and breathe."
She said it was good to acknowledge the tension and allow it to be there.
"Tension will be a part of everyone being locked up."
That might require an expectation adjustment.
"You can't expect everything to run smoothly and perfect - how can it, when we have never done an experiment like this?"
DO YOU NEED HELP?
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz
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