Yesterday morning I received a bleak text message. It was from the chairman of a local business association near my home in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket and contained a photograph of my local train station, usually a busy commuter route full of hustle and bustle.
It was completely devoid of life.
That snapshot spoke a thousand words: as we surpass the two-year anniversary of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, something close to normality has finally resumed for many across the globe.
But here in our far-flung corner of the Southern Hemisphere, isolated behind our still-sealed border, we endlessly push around a hamster wheel of ever more wearying rules and restrictions.
Among them is a staggering isolation period of up to 24 days for those in households where someone has tested positive, a mandatory cap of 100 vaccinated people at public events — a devastating imposition on the entertainment industry in this, our peak summer season — and compulsory mask wearing almost everywhere, including for school pupils aged eight and up.
Read more: How lockdown-loving lefties have turned my glorious New Zealand into a hermit kingdom: Families are forced to isolate for up to 24 days, borders are slammed shut for two years, and the streets are deserted, writes despairing Kiwi David Seymour