As most of the country is in lockdown we talk to some of the Northlanders who are working as our essential services — our essential heroes. They are out in our communities making sure we are connected and have access to supplies. Today Jenny Ling talks to a mum-of-six who is making a difference at a retirement village.
Far North cleaner Aroha Wilson has well and truly embraced what it means to be an essential worker during the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only is the mother-of-six still heading off to work at the Kerikeri Retirement Village every day for her crucial cleaning duties, she's also taken on a host of extra roles to help out.
Wilson's normal four-day working week has swelled to seven as she voluntarily shops for residents then hand delivers their groceries.
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She is also helping with meals on wheels and carrying out milk, fruit and newspaper deliveries throughout the village, which houses 180 residents in a variety of living arrangements.
"A lot of our volunteers are over 70 and can't come in during the lockdown," Wilson said.
"It's our time to step up and help these people. We take so much for granted, so it's good to give back to our community.
"What we're doing as a country is hopefully going to contain this virus – it's tiring but it's good. All my comrades would be in the same boat."
Wilson has worked at the retirement facility for five years and loves being part of "the village bubble".
She is one of a team of four cleaners who are all working extra hard to keep surfaces clean, knowing that's where the virus can survive from a few hours to several days.
"There's a lot of extra cleaning to do right now, as all surfaces have to be thoroughly wiped down," Wilson said.
"We're having to clean every surface where people touch every day. You don't realise what you touch ... right from the light switches to the rails, doors and windows."
Wilson said all staff are having to be "extra careful" while working with vulnerable and elderly residents.
"There's more awareness of where we're going and who we're around," she said.
"And I'm more cautious about bringing anything back to my own home bubble.
"The residents are pretty good considering; some of them are like 'well, we lived through wars', so it doesn't faze them.
"But others, I feel for them because they're used to social interaction and getting out and about."
Wilson praised her workmates for banding together at this difficult time.
"We've always worked well as a team and this has just come through and shown how much we do that," she said.
"When the chips are down you've got to help each other out."