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Kei Roto i te Miru - Inside the Bubble

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her team made the decision for the country to go into Level 4 lockdown on 25 March 2020. At that point all citizens were asked to stay home unless working in essential services.

Since then Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) staff have been working with Ngā Pātaka Kōrero Auckland Libraries Principal Oral Historian, Sue Berman to develop resources for people at home to collect oral histories using the technologies they had to hand.

In Aotearoa, communications from government have framed this time of isolation as being ‘in the bubble’, a phrase none of us had heard before March, but which now seems ubiquitous. It is the reason why our oral history project is called ‘Kei Roto i te Miru: In the Bubble’. See Dr Emma Kelly's Facebook note about this project.

Dr Emma Jean Kelly, project manager for Kei Roto i te Miru - Inside the Bubble, being interviewed via Zoom by Jacqui Keelan (Ngati Porou, living in Waikato) about the project and her experience of lockdown.

Podcast series

Kei Roto i te Miru: Inside the Bubble is a podcast series capturing New Zealander’s experiences during the 2020 lockdown.

The series uses oral histories collected during the lockdown to reflect on how we responded collectively as a nation to this moment in history, and shares some of the many ways New Zealander’s experienced the lockdown.

The series will be published on RNZ’s podcast channel. It will also be aired weekly on RNZ ‘Nights with Bryan Crump’, Mondays starting 29th March 2021.

The series is organised by theme – We Prepared, We Cared, We Learned, We Moved, We Connected. Each theme contains a number of voices from diverse communities.

The source oral history interviews are available through Auckland Libraries Kei Roto I Te Miru – Inside the Bubble oral history collection.

Episode One - We Prepared

When the prime minister appears on your TV flanked by two New Zealand flags you know things are getting serious, but how do you prepare for an invisible threat? In this episode whānau and health and airline workers talk about how they got ready.

Read the transcript from Episode One here. [PDF 280 KB]

Episode Two - We Cared

How do you lockdown if you do not have a home and how do health workers protect their families when they arrive home from the frontlines? In this episode we hear about housing, the homeless and nursing under extraordinary circumstances.

Read the transcript from Episode Two here. [PDF 265 KB]

Episode Three - We Learned

We Learned: From grappling with video calls to the highs and lows of homeschooling, parents, backpackers and a dance teacher reveal how they taught others and what they learned about themselves.

Read the transcript from Episode Three here. [PDF 517 KB]

Episode Four - We Moved

We Moved: How did we keep moving when we had to stay put? Find out how those ‘government-mandated walks’ helped us stay sane and some health workers kept their spirits up with clinic waiting room dance-offs.

Read the transcript from Episode Four here. [PDF 265 KB]

Episode Five - We Connected

What effect did this enforced isolation have on how we connected with ourselves, our loved ones and our communities and what lessons did we take with us when we left our bubbles?

Read the transcript from Episode Five here. [PDF 379 KB]

Bonus episode

'Jack’s Story’ is a special release in a series of podcasts based on these oral histories and was published on 24 August 2020. This bonus episode was released for Pride 2020.

Resources referred to in this podcast:

For support or information please refer to: InsideOut; Rainbow Youth; Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand, Te Pūranga Takatāpui o Aotearoa


Updated on 7th April 2021