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Island Cinderella’s 275 lockdown

An Auckland law student shares her 2020 lockdown experience.

Lola Afeaki, law student, The University of Auckland, October 2021.

Māngere, Auckland Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly.

The infamous 275 is silent without the lagging bass of siren cars. Mangere Town Centre’s walls are a blank canvas without the constantly painted over graffiti. My strict Tongan mother has been making me clean since 6am and it’s 12pm now. I’m living my Island Cinderella fantasy in lockdown; without the prince charming part because of Covid of course.

Lola Afeaki

Yesterday I was at Countdown with two pairs of gloves on, two masks and hand sanitizer in my bag. I was 42nd in line when I arrived. I saw my aunty in front of me, she turned around and screamed at me asking how my family was doing during this time. I couldn’t hear her over everyone else's screaming to their distant eighth cousin they just met in line – Poly problems. Also, church over zoom is a disaster. Now my aunty knows how to mute and turn off the camera. She can yell at my cousins without the whole church watching her like they usually do when my cousins are making too much noise. I can hear my mum calling me to mop the ceiling while my brothers sleep through the afternoon. Off I go.

Lola Afeaki is a law and humanities student, at The University of Auckland. 275 is the telephone prefix and unofficial nickname for the South Auckland community of Mangere.