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‘Pandemic seems like a distant dream’

Festivals, beaches, parties and drinking – a utopian reality for many Brits or just a flight to New Zealand?

Thousands of New Zealanders gathered for a music concert last weekend, living the fantasy we dreamed of in England.

New Zealand away for three full months in 2020, from June to August, without any new local infections and even declared “virus free”. Since then they have basically lived their best lives due to the strict restrictions that were imposed at the start of the pandemic.

Currently only available 65 active cases in New Zealand with only one person in the community, and some restrictions included mask required in public transport and a contact tracing application scanned when visiting places. Meanwhile, Britain is back on its third national lockdown, and the festival, cuddling and pub-hugging seems a long way off.

The tab asks New Zealand students what it is like to live in a country without locks:

‘Pandemic seems like a distant dream’

I’m actually from Newcastle. The strangest thing (aside from the NHS applause situation? What is it ?!) is seeing people post on their social media about a vacation abroad while your case count continues to rise. It’s crazy how easy it is for British people to get in and out of the country compared to here.

Life is relatively normal now in NZ. The pandemic seems like a distant dream. It took me a second to give thanks for the normal state we got back but otherwise, Covid did not cross my mind.

Lydia Swift, 21, University of Auckland

‘We’re still hugging and shaking hands’

Life is effectively the same as in 2019. People gather and eat out, social distancing is not a problem here. You can go to the market in town and spend the whole day shopping.

We didn’t see any good news from England, the picture of ambulances queuing outside the hospital was terrible especially since I have grandparents in England.

Life is good in New Zealand. We still hug and shake hands! We see the world struggling on a scale that’s hard to understand.

Patrick Kerrigan, 24, graduated from the University of Waikato

‘I feel lucky to have a government that listens to science’

At first, it didn’t feel real, and I was nervous about going out in a crowd, but I think that timing changes everything.

I feel fortunate to have a government that cares and listens to science and being free from Covid is a community effort. People care for each other and follow the guidelines, which helps us deal with the virus quite quickly.

Niyati Bhuta, 21, University of Auckland

“I’m going to the festival this weekend!”

In my normal days, I usually play my mandolin and violin (I’m a musician) and then maybe hang out with a friend or do some errands. Maybe I’ll go swimming or take a walk with my dog ​​too.

Tonight, I’m going to a session of traditional Irish music too, which is impossible in lockdown. Also, I’m going to the folk festival this weekend which I’m looking forward to!

Jackie Lamb, 20, University of Auckland

‘It seems unreal that the England I once knew is no longer’

Concerts are back – and believe me, they’re even better than pre-lockdown!

I think the problem stems from the British government, which seems a bit vague and changes their mind every five minutes. It seems unreal that the England I once knew today is no longer. And the statistics are incredible, 1,800 deaths a day ??

But in NZ we just ate the first “community case” in a while and it’s a bit of an overhaul.

Amy Norris- Hibbert, 21, University of Canterbury, Christchurch

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