Moana Rewi – Ngāti Kahungunu / Gisborne
“I was looking forward to my birthday on March 28. I was going to turn 31 and had planned a big whānau dinner. Then the Lockdown came.
It was sad to have to stay at home for my birthday, but it was okay. My support person Sue came over, we had dinner and cake. And my flatmate, Alan, gave me a CD . . . I loved that! I love everything to do with singing and dancing.
Sue was in our bubble, but we couldn’t go out anywhere. No activities or socialising at Blind Low Vision. No horse-riding. No kapa haka. Nowhere.
I did miss seeing Sue and our other support workers every day, but she did still pop around to check in and to go with me on a walk in the beautiful sunshine.
We also got our groceries delivered, which we loved! We spent a lot of time preparing meals, cleaning the house, keeping everything right.
It was hard not being able to get out and about, but the virus was scary, and I knew we had to do the right thing. So, we stayed at home, stayed in our bubble.
I loved spending a lot of time in my bedroom watching movies, listening to music and drawing my favourite pop stars. I like to draw Prince – his songs Purple Rain and Cream are my favourite. And George Michael. I like him with the guitar on that song Faith.
In my room I have pictures of all my favourite singing stars and other special things, like my new minky blanket that is a beautiful bright red. My two flatmates are my friends but the sign on my bedroom door is important . . . it says, ‘knock before entering’. It is my special space.
I was brought up by my nan in Wairoa and came to Gisborne after Nan died. I lived in a few places until 2019 when I moved into this lovely house – my first-time flatting!
I like being in this flat. It means I have my freedom. I love having my independence and doing so many things for myself during Lockdown has made me feel I am even stronger than I was before.
I was lucky to have my new cell phone . . . I just love it! The support workers can use it to check in. I can text my aunty. And I like to use it to listen to music.
I also had my culture which makes me as strong as my great-grandmother used to be, and as strong as she always told me I was.
That helped me build up even more independence and I feel proud of what we achieved. We looked after each other and after our flat. It was a big responsibility, but we did it!
I think I am even stronger now than I was before. I know my nan will be looking down on me saying ‘well done my darling, well done’.” – 17 September 2020
- This article appeared in Life in a Pandemic, a book about disabled and autistic people in Covid-19 Lockdown, 2020. © Life Unlimited Charitable Trust.