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News Feature

When you hear the term essential workers, chances are you think of the amazing healthcare staff on the front line, or the supermarket workers you see when you pick up your essentials.

But since the COVID-19 began, one essential job that we might overlook is journalists. In a way, journalists are first responders too – often not with any medical abilities but they are our eyes and ears on the front line. 

The NZ Herald called the daily 1 pm press conference “NZ’s favourite reality TV show.” With thousands of people tuning in each day to hear the updates, we thought it might be interesting to find out what exactly goes into these conferences:

The 1 pm press conferences are filled with journalists from different organisations from television, print, and radio.  The journalists ask the government questions for the public, which is particularly important while we are in lockdown and cannot do it ourselves.

Some Facts About Asking Questions in Press Meetings:

  • You have to have a membership to be in the room, and abide by the rules to keep your membership.
  • Due to the time crunch, the journalists often only get one shot to ask these questions so they have to make sure that the questions are perfect and provide context.
  • You might have heard the journalists yelling to get the politician’s attention. It is their only opportunity to ask questions because there is a rule that you cannot follow the politicians around in parliament to keep asking them.

Jessica Mutch McKay is the politics editor for TV 1 and she describes her role saying:“I need to get information from the politician, and the politician needs me to communicate that to the public.”

Ultimately, these press conferences provide journalists a chance to challenge the information to make sure it is correct and then they can present it in a way for us to easily understand.

Journalism is clearly an important field but sadly, since the beginning of the lockdown, 437 of New Zealand’s 1,600 journalists have lost their jobs. This is because newspapers make their money through advertising which has dropped with the uncertainty of the virus.

Now more than ever is a good time to be supporting news outlets if you can. And the next time you are watching the 1 pm conference stay till the questions or remember the other kind of front line workers out there. They may not be able to help cure coronavirus but having reliable news about the virus is just as important.

It’s easy for this extended time indoors- especially with your family- to cause a bit of cabin fever. Waking up every day to the same agenda; staying home, will no doubt be getting old after almost 3 weeks.

There are, however, several things you can do to help you stay relatively sane during this confusing time.

Create a routine:
It’s a good idea to change out of your pajamas, have a shower and make your bed every day. Just because you’re friends won’t see you, doesn’t mean your family should be able to smell you! Doing small things you usually do every day will help things feel more normal and you feel better.

Break things up:
Find tasks to break up your day so it doesn’t feel so long and boring. In the middle of the day try to fit in a
walk or some exercise so it feels like you have a separate morning and afternoon rather than just one long day.
Another good idea is when possible, change your environment for different activities. That way you still feel as if your brain will feel like it has places to do the things it normally does without going to school or to sports practice. You could change around your room and dedicate each corner to a different activity.

Take care of your body:
This is a perfect time to catch up on some sleep. Luckily you have nowhere to go so you can finally sleep in without fear of missing the bus! It’s also important to keep moving. There are some great exercise videos online and these can be a great way to get motivated and can be really fun especially if you get
your siblings or even your parents involved! Check out KIDZ Bop to learn some awesome dances which definitely count as a good way to exercise.

Use your imagination:
If things are starting to feel a bit scary, it’s a good idea to put your imagination towards something positive. You could do this by drawing or painting or creating a short film about your time in lockdown. That way you have something to look back on and remember what you did with these 4 weeks.

Or just relax:
We are going through a pandemic so it’s okay if you aren’t learning a new language or skill. It’s totally
okay if somedays you just feel like chilling out. Get stuck into a new book or series to take your mind off

The main thing is to stay happy and healthy. I mean, if you’re really bored remember you can always help your parents with some jobs or go tidy your room…😆 What have you been doing to stay sane during the lockdown?
Comment below

I am at home giving my children a bath when I get the message, another colleague has called in sick, and I am needed tomorrow morning to help care for patients being treated for the coronavirus. I have already worked double-shifts for weeks on end. My job requires me to be around people infected with the virus, putting the health of myself and my family at risk. But I don’t think twice – I reply saying I will be there first thing tomorrow morning.

WHO AM I? I am the doctors and nurses working tirelessly in our hospitals right now. My normal workload has not changed. I still have patients ready to give birth, patients needing urgent surgery, patients undergoing chemotherapy. I cannot ignore their needs or the needs of my new patients with the virus; I have to do what it takes to somehow address everyone’s health requirements.

All around me everyone’s life has changed dramatically. Everyone is going home. Kids don’t have to go to school, students don’t have to go to university, most adults don’t have to go to work because it is considered too unsafe. However, for me – work continues. I am expected to show up to work tomorrow where people are rude to me and expect endless amounts of me and my colleagues, when we are already working as hard as we possibly can.

WHO AM I? I am the supermarket workers keeping shelves stacked for the Kiwis who are isolating at home. I am the supermarket delivery drivers, manoeuvring the New Zealand roads non-stop, ensuring these supermarkets have enough food. I am working as hard as I possibly can. I ask you to remain calm so I can do my job for the good of everyone.

Ever since the coronavirus began infiltrating New Zealand cities, my job has gotten a lot harder. I have had to significantly increase my workload to make sure that every nook and cranny is clean. Nobody wants to touch unclean surfaces themselves, but they expect me to have no problem with this – they say that it’s my job after all.

WHO AM I? I am the cleaners working tirelessly in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. My job is more important than ever right now, and I treat it as so. However, I can’t help that hoping when this is all over, people will respect my role in society a bit more than they used to. I hope they recognise how vital my job is when it comes to protecting the health of the country.

I am passionate about my job, and I am good at it – really good. However, I know that the success I have had comes down to my ability to engage with my students. All of a sudden, I feel the need to prove to myself that I am just as good, if not more, when working from home. I am using technology I have no experience with, trying to engage with my students and help them learn, all through a screen.

WHO AM I? I am the teachers of Kiwi kids. I am anxious. How can I keep students motivated? How can I celebrate their success? Make them feel connected to each other? Education is supposed to continue – but I can’t put my usual methods to use. The one thing I know is that the only way this is going to work is if we worth with each other. Give each other time to figure it out and go easy on each other. We will learn how to do this just like we learn everything else – slowly but surely.

This term we have focused on a “Who Am I” theme, learning about awesome people who have accomplished notable things, and discussing what we can learn from them. We have focused on individuals in our society who we aspire to be like. However, with everything going on at the moment in NZ and all across the world, we can see from a new perspective what is truly remarkable right now. How roles in our society we might once have taken for granted are truly heroic. So today, we have focussed on some examples of the New Zealanders that we appreciate more than ever and can learn true life lessons from. However, there is another hero we need to look at: Everyone else.

Everyone has the opportunity to be a hero right now. Now is not the time to think that we are exempt from the rules, or to make little excuses about why we are the one exception. Now is the time to be strict with ourselves and with each other. STAY HOME and BE SAFE.

Stay home and be safe. Do it for yourself. Do it for your friends and family. Do it for the people making sacrifices for us right now. Do it for your nana and pops. Let’s do this Kiwi Kids.

Thinking Questions:

This week, I ask you to think of two more essential workers and discuss how their lives are being affected by coronavirus right now.

– I ask you to think of how their health is at risk, and what this means for their family.

– I ask you to think of what they are sacrificing right now.

– Finally, I ask you to think of how you can show your support for these people – whether that means right now or when this period has passed.

Stay safe, Hannah. X

Elizabeth II is the Queen of the United Kingdom and is also the monarch of 15 other countries, including us Kiwis in good old New Zealand. Elizabeth became Queen when her father, King George VI, died in 1952 and has now ruled longer than any other king or queen in the history of the United Kingdom.

Although Elizabeth is the queen of each country separately, she lives and spends most of her time in the United Kingdom. In all the other countries where she is Queen, a person has been chosen to represent her, who is known as the Governor-General. Elizabeth is the Queen and is interested in the running of her countries, but she doesn’t really tell the governments what to do.

While she has had a very high-stress life, being the Queen of England comes with some pretty great perks too… Elizabeth is the only person in the UK allowed to drive without a licence, and she still drives to this day, even at 93 years old! She also has two birthdays, which is pretty awesome.

Her actual birthday is on 21st April, but she gets an official birthday thrown in her honour on a Saturday in June – when the weather is better in England!

While the Queen is very important and may seem quite prim and proper, she enjoys lots of the same things that us non-Royals do too! She has many hobbies, including horse riding, pigeon racing, and football – she’s an Arsenal supporter! She enjoys walking her dogs, and it is well known that her absolute favourite breed of dog is Corgis as a little group of them are often seen trotting along beside her. 

Queen Elizabeth has and continues to live, a pretty amazing life. No matter what people say about her, there is no denying that she has truly devoted herself to her job. On her 21st birthday, she said in a speech: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” How many of us can imagine making a promise at 21, and not breaking it even when we are in our nineties! To me, it’s pretty impressive.

There are endless life lessons we can learn from Elizabeth. She shows us that it is possible to truly dedicate ourselves to things we care about and to not let anything get in the way. Elizabeth puts her country above all else, sometimes even above her own best interests and the best interests of her family. She can show us that while sometimes decisions can be hard to make, it is important to look at the big picture and remind ourselves what our overall purpose is.

From her experience we can learn that you never know when you’re going to be thrust into a position of responsibility, so get ready for the top job. When Elizabeth was born, she was third in line for the throne. But by the time she was 25, she was Queen! To put that in perspective, her son Charles was first in line for the throne when he was born, and at 71 years old today, he still isn’t King! While Elizabeth didn’t have a whole lifetime to prepare for the role, she learnt quickly and was committed to being the best Queen she could be, doing a great job.

And of course, Queen Elizabeth shows us how to Keep Calm and Carry On…