This weekend returning New Zealand citizens Utai’a Uaita Iona Levi and his wife Susana will get to embrace their family members for the first time in five months following a 14-day isolation stay in Rotorua.

Whilst the public has become increasingly annoyed at the four people that have escaped managed isolation from different hotels around the country, the Levi’s have praised the workers involved with managing the Sudima Hotel isolation facility.

“The doctors, nurses, army, police, security and hotel staff are all doing a fantastic job for our health and safety and they’ve made our stay here enjoyable and comfortable,” says Utai’a.

The Levi’s arrived from Samoa on July 3rd and were unhappy seeing the news about the escapes in the media in recent weeks.

“They are selfish thinking of themselves and not thinking about how their actions can impact the whole process,” says Susana.

“It’s only 14 days, facilities are very nice and comfortable, don’t be stupid, think about the consequences on the entire population.”

The couple admit that the time in isolation has had its challenges, but nothing that warranted a complaint.

“Initially it was a nervous wait for our results once we’d been tested for covid-19 when we arrived, thankfully they came back negative,” says Utai’a.

Speaking from Auckland, their son Pulotu Bruce Levi says the family had to work fast to get warm clothes to Rotorua for their parents.

“They didn’t pack for the cold. Dad was walking around in a polo and shorts, so our brother did a road trip to Rotorua with supplies.”

Their daughter who lives in Melbourne also ordered groceries online which was dropped off on the Saturday morning that they arrived to ensure they had enough food.

“We were concerned for mum’s health, but they were looked after very well by the staff at Sudima and the health team, her nurse from The Fono even made a special trip to see her,” says Pulotu.

In family online chats Mr and Mrs Levi were told by their children to ‘live it up’.

“Our family said to them jokingly that two weeks in a luxury hotel like Sudima would never happen again so enjoy the two weeks,” says Pulotu.

The Levi’s also relished the time together and getting to know other returning citizens from Samoa.

“Spending this time in isolation together has been very nice for us to recharge the body and mind,” added Utai’a.

Mrs Levi added, “there’s a nice sense of community here too, we’ve had the chance to connect with other Samoans, keeping in line with strict social distancing rules, and share our experiences of being in isolation.”

The Levi’s are excited to see their family again this evening and wanted to personally thank the Government and Sudima staff.

“We are not sure how many othercountries do this for their returning citizens during the pandemic, but we are so grateful to the New Zealand Government and feel privileged to be a citizen.”