A husband-and-wife nursing couple have still not been able to find childcare for their children before the country goes into lockdown at midnight tonight.

Suresh Vengetaraman, a mental health nurse, and Navaneetha Jeyavel, a hospital nurse who works shifts, have two children Timothy, aged 12, and Tabitha, 4.

Timothy was at Elim Christian College and Tabitha was at a BestStart childcare centre in Baverstock Rd in Flatbush, but the family simply hasn't had time to find alternative care since the month-long lockdown was announced on Monday.

"Today my wife started at 6.30am and gets home at 6.30pm. She does 12-hour shifts," Vengetaraman said. "I work fulltime Monday to Friday."


The family took advantage of the childcare centre staying open on Tuesday and Wednesday for the children of essential workers, while Timothy spent today at a friend's house.

"That gave us a leverage to plan, and actually the DHB [district health board] has been very helpful, our manager was really helpful, but we haven't found anything yet," Vengetaraman said.

Although the family are all NZ citizens, Vengetaraman came from India 16 years ago and Jeyavel is also from India, so they have no relatives here who could look after the children.

"We do have church members, but we are thinking of the human interaction. It's not possible," he said.

"Tomorrow my wife is off, but on Friday she's working and I don't know what we're going to do. If I can't find a solution I will have to take a day off, I've got no choice.

"It's hard. At the same time, as NZ citizens, I do have a civic duty, and I do have to fulfil my obligations to the DHB and abide by the laws of the Government, which is totally understandable."

He was not aware of a Government scheme to fund home-based childcare for essential workers that was announced by the Ministry of Education at 4pm, only hours before the shutdown started.

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"I'm not sure whether I'm eligible or not," he said.

"I know lots of my friends working in healthcare have also got problems. It's going to be hard for them too."

• Lockdown details: covid19.govt.nz