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Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu: Giving and Receiving Support During the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown

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In the first half of 2020 the importance of home was heightened as Aotearoa New Zealand moved to eliminate the community spread of COVID-19 and a pandemic-related lockdown confined most people to their household ‘bubbles’.

Fifty-four people in Hawke’s Bay were interviewed about their lockdown experience: who was in their bubble, what their accommodation was like, what their lockdown concerns were, and what support they received from and provided to others. While most participants stayed in their own home over the lockdown, some left to help out other family members and a few left because they were asked to go. Participants reported challenges over the lockdown with mortgage/ rent payments, utility payments, household tensions and food security. Just over half of the participants were in rented accommodation and most had some contact with their landlord/property manager, with some rent relief being offered. Overall, most participants coped with challenges as they arose; however, lockdown exacerbated mental health concerns for participants who had existing mental health issues. Receiving food as well as giving food to others increased over the lockdown, while childcare declined. The continuation of giving and receiving different types of support by participants during the lockdown was potentially a form of resistance to being confined to a household bubble and/or an expression of belongingness to a community beyond their bubble.

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