More than 18,800 kms away in South London, Samoan Nu Filo is sweating buckets whilst being put through his paces in an online zoom workout with SWET Fitness in Wellington.

Nu, a former NZ Army soldier, moved to London at the end of January. The online fitness classes have helped him cope with the UK lockdown for over six weeks. He’s also shared his workouts in his Instagram story.

“DJ from SWET actually called me about a month ago to check up on me knowing I was by myself in lockdown, I really appreciated that call.”

Daily exercise for Nu is not just about keeping fit, it’s a key part of his journey with PTSD and depression.

“The source of my PTSD comes from uncertainty on future events but if I focus on being present while exercising, then it gets me locked in and living in the now, staying present.”

Nu, an amputee lost his lower right leg and the middle finger of his right hand at Waiouru during a training exercise in 2006. A fellow soldier picked up live ammunition, put it into a rubbish bin, and it exploded when the bin was emptied.

“I’ve been a member of SWET for five years and they’ve been a huge part of my journey with PTSD and depression, so thanks to technology I re-joined their classes from the other side of the world.”

Nu admits he’s loved the lockdown period in London thanks to some warm weather, a stark contrast from the chilly temperatures in Wellington.

“Lockdown has been amazing, it’s been nice to wake up and have a coffee in the sun. I’ve also got myself into a good routine.”

FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger and Instagram are ways Nu has kept connected with his partner, family and friends.

“I’ve probably never made this many calls in my life. My partner is back home so we FaceTime at least twice a day, sometimes we’re not even talking, but it’s as if I’m right there by her side.”

His parents had to get used to using their smartphones properly to keep in touch with Nu.

“Mum and Dad are essential workers who have been working throughout the lockdown in NZ and my brothers help connect our calls, it puts me at ease to see that they’re safe.”

A group chat with his best mates, all Pacific Islanders, from Wellington College has seen the men connect deeper on a wellbeing level.

“We’re encouraging each other to exercise and keep healthy, it’s important that we’re around longer for our children and families.”

Click on link below for help with PTSD or depression

Mental Health Foundation NZ

Depression NZ – Pasifika