For some, the trans-Tasman bubble opening is the perfect chance for an overdue holiday, for others, it marks the end of almost 400 days without their loved ones.
The trans-Tasman bubble has kindly reminded us all about what is important in life; love, connection, and humanity.
Seven-year-old Alice Hawkins hadn’t seen her mum for 15 months. Bee Dawson had been apart from her son James since last February.
John and Elizabeth Anderson were missing their daughter since two Christmases ago and Olivia Mouad was waiting with her two children, ready to re-introduce them to their aunt Rebecca.
On Monday, they all waited at Wellington Airport for the first arrivals from Sydney on the first day of the trans-Tasman bubble.
Maori singing filled the anxious air as they got the first glimpse of their loved ones through a specially arranged camera through to the other side of the terminal.
Get the tissues, because these reunions are beautiful.
One by one, as friends and relatives dribbled through the arrivals door, each was met with a mighty embrace.
“It’s been an emotional time,” Ms Dawson said through tears.
“It’s not like the olden days when you couldn’t see people far away. You just expect to be able to see people all the time.”
The scene will be repeated up and down the country for weeks to come after New Zealand finally lifted quarantine requirements from Australian travellers.
The first flight touched down at Auckland Airport at lunchtime on Monday – a Jetstar service from Sydney delayed by just over an hour.
It wasn’t just New Zealand that saw emotional reunions. Australia’s major international airports also got in on the action, with Aussies returning home and Kiwi friends and family members crossing the Tasman in the other direction.
Sydney airport’s Facebook page shared a post that read:
‘Peak emotion in our International terminal today, from people bursting with excitement to be getting across the ditch to tearful reunions in the arrivals hall.’
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “I imagine a scene from Love Actually is how it might have looked,” she said. “It is truly exciting to start quarantine-free travel with Australia.
“The bubble marks a significant step in both countries’ reconnection with the world and it’s one we should all take a moment to be very proud of.”
In a joint statement, Ms Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Pacific would come next.
“Australia and New Zealand are also exploring opportunities to extend quarantine-free travel to other countries in the Pacific, when it is safe to do so, reflecting our close ties to the Pacific and our commitment to supporting their recovery,” it read.
New Zealand has committed to opening up to Cook Islands next month, with Niue after that. It has not begun formal talks with other countries, though Fiji is keen.
Australia is also currently in talks with Singapore over a potential travel bubble.
Header Image: Wellington Airport
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