Forty per cent of people surveyed in the Whanganui District Health Board region say they suffered from stress during Covid-19 lockdown. The main concerns were keeping themselves and their family safe, grocery shopping and availability of food and essentials and contracting the virus.

Two recent surveys put together by the Covid-19 Integrated Recovery Team, surveyed the community and businesses to find out about their experience of alert levels 3 and 4.

This survey showed people thought good communication, collaboration between agencies and mobile testing stations worked well over the lockdown period.

Services stopped over the lockdown that people wanted to restart included health services, recycling, reopening of the community, accepting cash and hospital visiting.


For the community survey, 372 people were interviewed: 249 from Whanganui, 31 rural Whanganui, 66 from Rangitikei and 26 from Ruapehu. ALERTS2

One person said struggles included: "Juggling working from home with looking after 6- and 9-year-olds and their learning, and looking after elderly relatives we had to physically distance ourselves from but who needed groceries and medical supplies".

Those who were interviewed at the River Traders' Market said they enjoyed having more time to slow down and spend time with family and the neighbourliness that was shown.

But they said they missed human touch, being able to see people and social and community activity.

Recovery manager Charlotte Almond said surveys aimed to gain an insight into experiences during lockdown.

"Being in lockdown was something foreign to most of us and it really made people think about their work, their personal life and what they wanted for the future," she said.

A survey was also completed by 87 organisations: 41 of which worked across the whole Whanganui DHB region, 14 in the Rangitikei District, three in Ruapehu and 29 in the Whanganui District.

The areas of support these organisations felt they needed included developing organisational capacity and adapting financial support and funding flexibility, building strategic partnerships, exploring social innovation and enterprise and recovery planning and business continuity.

Fifty-five per cent delivered the same services in a different way over the lockdown, including changing the supply of food and household goods, support for other vulnerable populations and the supply of hygiene materials.


Nine organisations indicated that they or their employees required support around mental health and wellbeing, which arose from being a frontline worker, lack of healthcare, concerns about returning to work, financial concerns and isolation.

Almond said the survey results were only one aspect of a wider plan that also involved interviews, community leaders, meetings with organisations and one-on-one discussions with individuals.

"There will be more in-depth analysis to come which will help shape the path to the future and inform action to improve service delivery and community wellbeing."