GUEST BLOG: Shirin Brown – Who have you been in level 4? The Covid archetypes


Slightly bored empty nester
I do miss pilates and my hair’s starting to look a bit shabby at the roots. Our medical staff are doing a wonderful job don’t you think? Surely they can’t have six people in the same bubble. They look far too happy – I’m calling 0800 DOB THEM IN. It’s putting us all at risk you know.

Conspiracy theorist
I knew Google was collecting data on us and this proves it. Shovel ready? Why are we bailing out big business. You mark my words, this is just a power grab by the banks and corporate New Zealand.

Confused chameleon
We should open the borders to China, how is this worse than the flu? Millions will be lost to the economy. I just don’t think she should have locked us down for this long. We should stay in lockdown longer, it is juggling with people’s health to end it now.

Being helpful is my way of coping
I know there are people struggling and I just want to help. Look I’ve put a loaf of bread and some milk in the mailbox, or I can drop it off to anyone who needs it. I’ve put a whole collection of bears on the bench near my house and I’m going out at 6 to clap with the neighbours.

Adolescent charming
Done my hair, done my nails, done my homework, cleaned my room, made five tick tocks, watched twelve hours of Netflix and posted six pictures of me. Chatted till 4 am. Slept. Start again. What you want me to mow the lawns? What do you think I am, a slave?

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Creative and loving the freedom
Wow, this is amazing… 4 weeks paid to be at home with family.. write my story… clean up, well I didn’t get the house painted, but my German’s pretty good and I might get this album mixed by June.

In the shadows
No I can’t turn on the camera. I’m trying to run this meeting from the corner of the living room. The couch is covered in crap, my kids are having breakfast at the table and my nephew and his girfriend have got the mattress on the floor. I hope they’ll find work in level 3 and I can GET THEM OUT.

Not scared of death
Never in my life have I seen such nonsense… telling me what to do at my age. Let the virus come for me and I’ll show it … and if not.. well.. that’s fine too. I don’t know about these computers… seems people spend too much time online. I seem to hear from the family a bit more now… might have to look at changing the will.

Not fun being a single Mum
I’m not struggling to get the kids to school in clean clothes, and there’s a few different places we can get extra food from, so it’s easier to ge through the week. If the kids start fighting, I’m locking myself in the bathroom. It’s really hard only having internet on my phone.

I need to exercise
You don’t expect me to cycle round and round this area do you? 5ks, are you serious? I can’t live like this. Why didn’t they open the Harbour Bridge and let us cycle it? I can’t deal with this, I’m going for a surf….What? I can’t? How many more days are there? 30? You’ve got to be kidding. I can’t believe I’m living at home again.

A business, a new car and a third rental property
We can’t afford to keep the rental empty. We might have to sell it. How long can we afford to haemorhage money to keep the business going? Check out the website again to see if there are any more funds we can apply for.

This working holiday visa can only get better.
It was pretty hard getting the visa and we didn’t budget for this. We can’t travel and we can’t get home. What a nightmare. Sounds like there might be some kiwifruit picking going…where’s Te Puke? I can’t find it in the guidebook

Just a small business

Stoic International student
I hope my family are OK. It’s pretty lonely in New Zealand. I wish I’d made more effort to get to know people. I think I tried but everyone here pretty much does their own thing. It’s hard being in a small room in a hostel. Should I have gone home? If I don’t get a job at the end of lockdown, things are going to get really hard.

Full time cog in the wheel
Thank goodness for the bailout. I’ve heard there might be redundancies and not sure how long we can get by without paying the mortgage. Best to save as much as we can. I’ve always wanted to start my own company and my boss is a bore… maybe now’s the time.

Essentially existing worker
It’s really eerie on public transport, and then it’s chaotic or really quiet at work. Hope my family don’t get sick. I could do with 4 weeks at home. Great if work paid a bit more than a living wage. The clapping’s great but not sure it’s enough to make up for what we’re giving up.

Cheerleader and fan
Isn’t Jacinda doing an amazing job? And Ashley’s so lovely and great eyebrows! I do hope they liked the video I sent them. No I can’t chat at 1.00 tomorrow – I’m tuning into the briefing. Isn’t her hair holding up well?


Shirin Brown is a teacher,  film-maker and playwright.   She is currently Chair of the Hauraki Islands Forest and Bird Branch and researching for a PhD in diversity and inclusion.  She is contemplating her next steps after having spent six years elected to the the Waiheke local board.  Feel free to call her with a contract to write a Covid inspired TV series. 


  1. Thanks for the positive comments – made my day. Apart from my mother who pointed out that it should read ‘Whom have you been..’.

    Tiger Mountain – thanks for that I hadn’t seen the article. It’s disturbing how very differently people are experiencing Level 4 and whose voices tend to be heard more loudly and whose aren’t heard at all.

    • Well Shirin , when you have the approval of the likes of the illustrious Chris Trotter, you know you should keep on keeping on. Especially with the critical eye and backing of ones mother. You can hardly fail.

      Great article 🙂

      100% tick of approval rating .

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