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‘JAFAs’ no more: Regional lockdown softening Auckland’s image

August 27, 2020

‘JAFAs’ no more: Regional lockdown softening Auckland’s image

Some of the messages on Kia kaha Auckland. Graphic: Ben Leonard

"Jazzy Auckland Fronting for All" may be the new “JAFA” as Auckland’s regional lockdown brings an unexpected silver lining.

The Jazzy comment is one of many on Kia Kaha Auckland, a new Facebook page dedicated to showing Auckland support from rural New Zealand.

Lee Astridge, part of the group who started the page, says there is an enormous amount of gratitude towards Aucklanders in her rural Waikato community.

“We take the mickey out of them sometimes, but actually we love Auckland and really appreciate them at the moment,” she says.

The Kia Kaha Auckland page has also received a number of messages from Aucklanders happy to shed the JAFA title.

“I enjoyed watching the videos and lovely to have Aucklanders considered in any way apart from being JAFA's,” says one commenter.

Julia Jones, a Waikato farmer who posted a video message of support, says she wanted to show Aucklanders that people in rural New Zealand really care about them.

“If it wasn't for Auckland doing this lockdown, the rest of the country might be having to do it,” she says.

“The rural community is really grateful to the people of Auckland for making that sacrifice.”

Mrs Astridge says it's important for New Zealand to feel connected as the more regionalised approach to Alert Levels is tried for the first time.

“We’re still a team of 5 million and when the rules start to be a bit different among that team it would be easy for it to become siloed or regionalised,” she says.

“We wanted to make sure that the country still felt united and that all the people of Auckland, who are doing it a bit harder, knew that we were all behind them.”

The messages, which range from videos of dancing dairy farmers to memes of fluffy animals, are a light reminder that Auckland's sacrifices are not going unnoticed.

“It's just something, even if it's a silly video, to give you a giggle and flip that switch for people to feel happy and supported,” says Mrs Jones.

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