Tears flow as families reunited at Christchurch Airport

Four generations finally reunited for Christmas in Christchurch yesterday after four months apart.

Lucy Edwards arrived in Christchurch from Auckland on Wednesday to see her family after a long lockdown without them - but this time there’s a new addition.

Lucy gave birth to a baby boy during the lockdown, but with her family living in Christchurch she wasn’t able to introduce them.

Lucy was a passenger on one of the 16 flights between Auckland and Christchurch yesterday as the Auckland’s border reopened for the first time in 120 days.

Her mother Julie and grandmother Shirley Edwards were eagerly awaiting their arrival and excited to meet baby Leo who is just nine-weeks-old.

Lucy Edwards introduces nine-week-old baby Leo to grandmother Julie and great grandmother Shirley...
Lucy Edwards introduces nine-week-old baby Leo to grandmother Julie and great grandmother Shirley for the first time. Photo: Star Media
The group shared a tearful embrace as they were able to touch Leo for the first time.

Julie said Leo is her first grandchild and she is looking forward to carrying out her babysitting duties.

“It’s a very special moment,” she said.

“I’ve been waiting to meet him for two months.”

The group has shared plenty of video chats over the past four months but say it wasn’t the same as being with family.

“It’s pretty hard with having family down here,” Lucy said.

“So yeah, it’s really nice to see them.”

Lucy was worried about leaving Auckland the first day the borders reopened with a baby but said the whole experience "wasn’t too bad".

“Air New Zealand was amazing,” she said.

“They’re so good at helping.”

Leo wasn’t the only early Christmas present for Christchurch families.

Christine Wilson and her mother Jacqueline Griffiths were happy to bring baby Myar to...
Christine Wilson and her mother Jacqueline Griffiths were happy to bring baby Myar to Christchurch to introduce her to her uncle. Photo: Star Media
Christine Wilson and her mother Jacqueline Griffiths travelled from Auckland with baby Myar to meet her uncle for the first time.

Wilson hadn’t seen her brother in six months and was happy to introduce four-month-old Myar to him.

Griffiths planned to fly down on the very first day of the border reopening and said seeing them in person was great.

“You can do video calls but it’s not the same,” she said.

“She’ll be able to meet her cousins and get to know her uncle and aunty now.”

Families weren’t the only ones excited about the Auckland border reopening - businesses are hoping it will bring more customers.

Taxi driver Abdul Ababora welcomes the increase in business. Photo: Star Media
Taxi driver Abdul Ababora welcomes the increase in business. Photo: Star Media
Taxi driver Abdul Ababora said he was happy the border has been reopened and he welcomed the new business.

“Without the wage subsidy, we wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

“It was very tough.”

He has been looking forward to the day Aucklanders can travel and says, before today, he was lucky if he did two jobs a day.

“It means a lot that business can pick up so we are really happy,” he said.

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