Jenny Langrish and her family are back home in Whanganui after visiting her terminally ill father in the United Kingdom.
During their stay, the entire family contracted Covid-19, and their trip had to be extended for a month while they recovered.
Langrish, Whanganui High School's deputy principal, left New Zealand in June with her husband Clint Black and their 6-year-old daughter Molly Black.
"There were only a couple of things on Dad's bucket list," Langrish said.
"Seeing his granddaughter and seeing the vegetables come up from his allotment.
"Over the past year we'd been looking for an MIQ spot, and we were lucky enough to find one for July.
"We definitely wouldn't have been travelling in the midst of a pandemic unless there was a very good reason."
The family was originally booked to fly through Dubai with Emirates, but the UAE was put on the UK's "redzone" just before the family left, Langrish said.
"We managed to get some flights on Singapore Airlines instead, who were still on the 'greenzone'.
"You also had to have some pre-departure Covid tests, so we went to Whanganui Hospital to get those done. In theory, we were meant to get the results emailed, but they never came through.
"My husband went there in person at 6am on the Saturday we were flying and managed to get them printed off just before our Air Chathams flight."
Their trip coincided with the Delta strain of Covid-19 "surging through the UK", Langrish said.
"The Euro football champs were on, and people had started to go out in big numbers to watch it.
"We had a bit of a family Christmas, and seven out of nine of us ended up with Covid-19, despite all the adults being double vaccinated.
"We ended up testing positive on July 10. The numbers at that stage were up to 50,000 cases a day."
Her father also contracted Covid-19, but despite his already diminished health was able to recover.
"I think some people think the vaccination stops you getting it, but that's not proven to be the case at all," Langrish said.
"It does reduce the severity of the symptoms and hospitalisations, but we were all quite unwell, to be honest."
Langrish, who is an asthmatic, said she lost her sense of smell and taste "early on", and had an ongoing cough and breathing difficulties.
Her husband was in bed for several days with "what felt like glandular fever".
"It took some time for him to recover.
"For my daughter, it was short and sharp. She had a cough that sounded like croup and she was physically sick. She recovered much quicker than the rest of us."
Because her father had terminal cancer, he was on a "virtual ward", and statistics like pulse rate and oxygen level were emailed in to the hospital, Langrish said.
"They supply you with an oximeter that goes on your finger, and his levels were reading that he should be in hospital. He made the decision to stay at home.
"It's a miracle he's recovered from Covid. Perhaps the vaccination did its job in that respect."
In terms of the general feeling among the British public, Langrish said a certain amount of "Covid fatigue" had set in.
Self-administered flow tests had become "the norm".
"It's still taken really seriously and there's still lots of deaths, but they've been in this situation for 18 months and counting," Langrish said.
"I've got nephews who haven't been to school properly in that time, because if someone in your class or year group gets Covid-19, which with these case numbers is quite likely, your tracer app will tell you and you have to stay home for 10 days.
"That happened all the time."
Langrish said the National Health Service (NHS) test and trace app alerted people who were a close contact of someone with Covid-19 but, because it was so widespread, the app had created what the media dubbed a "pingdemic".
"People were deleting the app from their phones, because it made it near impossible for businesses to operate.
"Obviously, there are a lot of different opinions on the best way to tackle the pandemic, but because they've lived like that for 18 months, there are a lot of delays in other hospital procedures that are going on.
"Other things happen to people, operations and things, and there are lengthy, lengthy queues.
"They had lengthy queues before Covid, so I don't know when they'll catch up."
Langrish said she and her family were very happy to be home, after staying in the UK a month longer than planned.
"We had another Covid test on July 21 and, interestingly, Clint and I were still testing positive.
"In the small print of Singapore Airlines, it says you can't come home until 21 days after a positive test, so we ended up changing our MIQ spots twice. It was really hard to get that original spot, but once we were in, they were very helpful in moving things around.
"Both Clint and I are lucky to have supportive employers as well."
The return flight from Singapore to Auckland only had 31 people on board, Langrish said.
They completed their MIQ at the Naumi Hotel in Auckland.
"There were three of us in one room, with a chair and two beds. It was a bit of a challenge but we made it. There was a car park we could walk around in.
"Interestingly, just as we were leaving, they started to have a few intakes of Afghani evacuees, and I think that facility is just going to be for them now.
"The lockdown in New Zealand actually happened while we were still in MIQ. Air Chathams flights obviously weren't running, so a friend got up at 4am, drove to Auckland, picked us up, then drove back."
Langrish said, in her opinion, the New Zealand population needed to get its vaccination numbers up before thinking about fully reopening the border.
"There are a pretty small number of ICU beds [in New Zealand], so we couldn't cope with huge numbers of unvaccinated people being really ill.
"We are quite isolated in Whanganui, and in New Zealand, so you can just read about Covid-19 overseas while you carry on living your life.
"Now, look at all the people lining up to get their vaccinations. It [Covid-19] has arrived again, so people are taking action.
"That's human nature really, isn't it? If it has a direct effect then you do something about it, otherwise it's other people's news."