Coronavirus: Kiwis in Australia excited to fly home this month after border reopens

Kiwis in Australia are already looking forward to flying home at the end of February.

They'll be the first people overseas who can fly to New Zealand without going into MIQ. They're able to arrive from February 28.

But the news is déjà vu for everyone stuck overseas after years of delays and disappointment following border announcements. 

Among the Kiwis looking forward to coming home is Nicole Douglas and her three sons - nine-month-old Xander is yet to meet his grandparents.

"I'm lost for words at the moment after everything that's going on," she says.

But amongst the excitement is also heartache. Gold Coast-based Renata Marshall's teenage son died in New Zealand in 2020. She hasn't been able to visit his grave and has grieved alone this whole time.

"I suffer from anxiety, I've been depressed and I'm quite a strong person," she says.

"To be shut out with no mental support over here, it just makes me angry."

Despite confirmation from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that the border is opening to Kiwis in Australia, and Air New Zealand confirming an additional 300 flights a week, there's still hesitancy. 

"We're excited, but still holding on to that hope that it doesn't get shut down on us again," Marshall says.

It's happened before and Air New Zealand is now reorganising its schedule after the delays and disappointment too. 

While flights out of Australia begin at the end of the month, at the same time they will recall pilots and cabin crew for training on February 28 and prepare for March when Kiwis around the rest of the world can return.

The border reopening has become a lifeline. 

"It's unreal that it's actually happening," Douglas says.

And many won't believe it is until they're on that plane on their way home.