Thousands of tourists and international students arrived in New Zealand from Australia on Wednesday, some to reunite with family and friends, in a further sign of reopening in countries that have maintained some of the world’s strictest coronavirus restrictions.
In the largest influx of new arrivals in many months, at least 4,000 passengers on Air New Zealand flights alone arrived at airports throughout New Zealand, many of them Australians with family living in New Zealand, after the border reopened to Australian citizens and permanent residents arriving from anywhere in the world, as well as up to 5,000 international students.
New Zealand citizens were already able to enter, and the country intends to reopen to travelers from elsewhere in the world in a phased reopening over the coming months.
At Auckland International Airport, Justine Kanapu told the national broadcaster Radio New Zealand that she was waiting to see her mother — who was traveling from the Australian city of Perth — for the first time in almost three years. “We have missed out on a lot: my parents’ 60th birthdays, some funerals, some real special moments and some real sad moments,” she said. “So I can’t wait to see my Mum.”