While today’s travel bubble announcement will be good news for many New Zealanders in Australia, it has come too late for some.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon New Zealand will open its borders to Australia for quarantine-free travel from April 19 - a welcome announcement for many Kiwis who have been stuck across the Tasman and wanting to return.
However, the announcement also comes with sadness for others such as Sydneysider Priscilla Tuareka, who told 1 NEWS of her struggles to get home for her father’s recent tangihanga before the travel bubble announcement was made.
Maurice Tuareka died late last month after a long battle with cancer in New Zealand.
Tuareka says she had a feeling his condition was about to deteriorate, but presumed she would’ve had enough time to wait for a two-way travel agreement.
“If the bubble had opened, I would've gone home just in case,” she said.
Despite applying for an exemption from managed isolation, she was turned down, and missed his burial.
While Tuareka appreciates why exemptions are rarely granted, she wished the government had been more lenient this close to allowing quarantine-free travel.
“Now that we know what's happened, now that he's passed, I regret that there was no bubble.”
“I feel kind of marooned, not by choice.”
Her only option was to watch the service over video call last week.
Tuareka plans to be one of the first on a quarantine-free flight to Auckland, to thank those who were with her father in his final days.
“My father will be buried at the Manukau Memorial Gardens... Which I believe is the cemetery closest to the airport,” she said.
“I’ll get off the plane and go straight there.”