Dr Ashley Bloomfield responds to Tourism Fiji's holiday invite

Dr Ashley Bloomfield has been at the forefront of Aotearoa's COVID-19 response since the beginning but is about to step down from his role as Director-General of Health.

That has prompted one of New Zealand's Pacific neighbours to offer a chance for him and his family to get away from it all for a bit with an island holiday.

Tourism Fiji has invited Dr Bloomfield to enjoy a tropical getaway to say vinaka vakalevu (thank you very much) for his many years of public service, with a cheeky video featuring some of the island nation's people.

In the video, six-year-old Ratu Isikeli Sauturaga tells Dr Bloomfield that the country's traffic light system is a lot more relaxed while sipping a traffic light mocktail.

Mohammed Zoheeb then invites Dr Bloomfield to enjoy a much-needed shot of vitamin D on the beach, presumably concerned that he'd spent too long inside doing press conferences.

Meanwhile, Marika Seru jokes about Chris Hipkins' famous line, saying there's "plenty of room to spread your legs" as he sprints down the national Sevens rugby team's training ground, located in Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park.

Dr Bloomfield told Newshub it was a "wonderful and irresistible offer" from Tourism Fiji.  

"Having been to Fiji I know just how much it has to offer," he said.

"The last two years have definitely been busy and I'm looking forward to having a bit of time to reacquaint myself with our Pacific whānau. 

"Seeing the traffic light cocktails, the wide open spaces to stretch your legs, the relaxing beaches and warm welcome - Fiji is definitely on my short list and I need no encouragement to get back," he told Newshub.

Locals wanting to welcome Dr Ashley Bloomfield
Photo credit: Supplied / Tourism Fiji

Tourism Fiji's New Zealand regional director, Sonya Lawson, said it was clear that Dr Bloomfield had given many dedicated years of service to the NZ public and was due a "well-deserved" holiday.

"We would be delighted to share our year-round tropical warmth, pristine coastlines and world-renowned Bula spirit with Ashley and his family," Lawson said.

That could include sailing adventures, snorkelling, tree-top adventures and a casual game of rugby with the locals, Tourism Fiji said.

If that sounds too much effort for the Bloomfields, then the white sand beaches are always open, with the option to grab a sun lounger on Tivua Island.

"Fiji is the place where happiness finds you, and we want Dr Bloomfield and his family to find that happiness together.

"Fiji's locals came together to create this invitation to emphasise how excited we are to welcome the Bloomfield family with open arms," Lawson concluded.

If and when Dr Bloomfield returns to the island, he will have plenty of options for flights, with 34 each week from around Aotearoa.