PMA provides safe isolation for stranded USP students in NZ


The Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) through Pasifika Futures has provided a safe haven for self-isolation for fourteen students from Tokelau, who arrived in New Zealand on Monday afternoon with their liaison officer.

The group, who attend The University of the South Pacific in Fiji, are desperately trying to get back to their families in Tokelau after USP campuses in Fiji closed this week. Unable to transit through to Tokelau from Auckland airport, the students were left with no place to self-isolate for 14-days before finding accommodation with relatives in Auckland.

The Administrator of Tokelau, Mr Ross Ardern, became aware of their situation and contacted PMA on Sunday night to ask for assistance and support for the students.

Within a few hours Pasifika Futures organised and provided support through:

  • Providing accommodation for 14-days
  • Bus transportation from the airport to their accommodation
  • All meals and laundry while they are in self-isolation
  • A Pasifika Futures translator met the group at the airport and briefed them about the current Covid-19 protocols and processes in New Zealand
  • Daily visits to ensure they are comfortable

Pasifika Medical Association CEO, Debbie Sorensen, said the students were relieved when they met with Pasifika Futures staff at the airport.

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“Our staff picked them up from the plane last night with Reverend Iutana Pue who was providing reassurance, comfort and support to them.

“These students were originally intending to self-isolate with their relatives in Auckland but as we know that’s difficult for families and it can prove quite challenging if people don’t have a lot of space or resources,” said Sorensen.

“So, we feel humbled, that we were approached by Mr Adern and could organise this at very short notice and arrange accommodation that made sure everyone was safe, that they were fed and comfortable. This will ensure that their Auckland families will be safe ”

After 14-days of self-isolation the students can be cleared to stay on with their relatives in Auckland until they are able to return to Tokelau.

Wednesday 24 March, 2020