Ex-Tongan pilot grateful for new opportunities under Covid-19

As the global pandemic continues to grow around the world and New Zealand authorities shore up our borders, it’s worth remembering the impact it’s had on our communities, especially on the work-front.

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Captain Heneli Vete became suddenly unemployed when Covid-19 brought the travel industry to a halt. Source: Tagata Pasifika

Among the sectors worst hit by the pandemic has been the travel industry, people like pilot Heneli Vete suddenly made jobless during the lockdown.

The father of four was a pilot for Virgin Australia with 12 years under his belt as a captain. The unexpected redundancy came as a shock.

“How will I be able to continue paying for the mortgage was the biggest worry I had in mind,” Mr Heneli told Tagata Pasifika reporter Soana ‘Aholelei.

“It was quite daunting because it was two days before lockdown,” Mr Vete's wife Paenga said.

But keeping a positive attitude, Mr Heneli was willing to take on any job, digging deep into his past.

With the help of his sister, he happily took a job stocking shelves at Bunnings in Howick – work he is grateful for.

“I’m actually stress free, I wake up in the morning, I look forward to going to work.”

Watch the full story above.