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‘I felt quite teary’: New Zealanders in Melbourne excited to fly home after long wait

“It’s the hit of fresh air when you get off the plane, the air in New Zealand is so fresh and crisp,” she said.

“As soon as you disembark an aircraft you can almost smell it, it’s so uplifting it makes you feel home immediately.”

Allyse Wafer is excited by the prospect of being able to visit New Zealand again. She was unable to attend her grandmother’s funeral in person last year.

Allyse Wafer is excited by the prospect of being able to visit New Zealand again. She was unable to attend her grandmother’s funeral in person last year.

Allyse Wafer, another New Zealander living in Melbourne, was checking the airline websites for flights to Auckland soon after the announcement was made.

She said she was excited just to be able to sit around the dinner table with her parents and brother when she visits the town of Matakana, north of Auckland.

“My family are obsessed with food, they live on an orchard. Our whole life revolves around what we eat next. I can’t wait to go back for that,” she said.

Ms Wafer, who works in marketing and communications, said she would normally fly back home three times a year. She didn’t make it back at all in 2020, missing her grandmother’s funeral.

“Doing that via a FaceTime call, sitting in my apartment in Melbourne was really challenging,” she said.

Jarred Turnbull, owner of Bo Gurks craft beer bar in Edithvale, hopes that the travel bubble will solve issues he is having finding staff.

After several COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne, he said there was a shortage of people wanting to work in the hospitality industry.

“It’s never been like this,” he said.

Jarred Turnbull, owner of Bo Gurks bar in Edithvale, hopes the New Zealand travel bubble will enable him to find a pizza chef.

Jarred Turnbull, owner of Bo Gurks bar in Edithvale, hopes the New Zealand travel bubble will enable him to find a pizza chef.Credit:Chris Hopkins

“The feeling in the industry is that when people were laid off during COVID, they found alternative means of employment.”

Mr Turnbull’s search for a pizza chef will be expanded to New Zealand, where he will place ads with job agencies hoping to tempt someone to take the job.

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Any New Zealanders trained to shape dough should apply, he said.

“I think there’s a great opportunity here, bayside in Melbourne. Employment opportunities can sometimes be a bit limited in New Zealand.”

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