Learnings from lockdown and what to do differently

Written by : Team Subaru and Ambassadors

Subaru ambassadors share their thoughts and learnings of lockdown


As Covid-19 has reared its head again recently, Subaru of New Zealand decided to chat with some members of our nationwide ambassador team and brand partners to find out what this diverse range of people learned from the last lockdown.

We’re all relieved we don’t have to fully go back there but we asked some of them to share how they are feeling about Auckland remaining in Alert Level 3 for 12 more days, with the rest of New Zealand in Level 2. Our brand ambassadors and partners also discussed their experiences from the last lockdown and have some insights about how they plan to approach the Covid-19 restrictions this time around. We hope you get some valuable tips from them!


Public figures, parents and business owners Art and Matilda Green (Warkworth)

Subaru ambassadors Art and Matilda Green know the value of spending time together as a family during lockdown.

How are you both feeling about being back in Level 3 for Auckland?

Matilda: I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little anxious and disappointed. Even though we were warned that we would see another surge of cases, I found myself slipping into a sense of: "Yay we did it, it's all over, go us!" So, this next lockdown took me a little by surprise! But in saying that, I'm thankful we have a government that doesn't muck around and makes decisions swiftly.

Art: I'm taking it day by day (however long this inevitably lasts) and using it as a chance to focus on my family and being present together.


What was your previous lockdown experience like?

Matilda: We felt very lucky that our experience was actually a pretty positive one. Fortunately, our jobs weren't affected too badly, so we took the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine, take a break, and make the most of being together as a family with no distractions.

Art: I'm a very go-go-go type of person, so it was a good test for me to be a bit more present in the moment and learn how to take it slow, and be okay with not being super-efficient with my time. Plus, the weather was glorious, so I got stuck into the garden which is something I love to do!


What would you do differently this time around?

Matilda: I'm going to stay off social media as much as I can. I try to limit time on my phone, but I found during the last lockdown, I would get stuck in social media scrolling spirals, which made me feel pretty anxious. If we go back into lockdown, I'm going to focus on keeping my headspace present and positive. It's easy to think doom and gloom in these types of situations, but that headspace is not healthy.

Art: I don't think I'll do anything that different. We spent A LOT of time in the kitchen last time, so I intend to do that again. I've started making a list of all the delicious meals I want to make that usually I would write off as being too time consuming or fiddly.


Professional triathlete Hannah Wells (Tauranga)

Hannah Wells and her Subaru XV

How are you feeling about being back in Level 2, with Level 3 up in Auckland?

Obviously, it's not ideal that Auckland is in another lockdown and the rest of the country has moved up to Level 2, and I am sure I am not alone in feeling some level of anxiety, fear and disappointment. It is okay to feel these emotions - it is how we react to them that is important. Let's use these thoughts and feelings as motivation to do our best at sticking to the rules, while continuing with a good routine as much as possible.

I will also add that suppressing any emotions or thoughts we may have at the moment will only intensify them (speaking from experience here!) So, I am not going to be afraid to admit when I am feeling down or overwhelmed to my loved ones over this time. Chances are that others will be feeling the same and maybe talking about it will help more people than just yourself.


What was your previous lockdown experience like?

I found lockdown reasonably okay. I got on with what training I could do (biking in my garage and running) and tried to keep to a good routine. 

I actually found the time after lockdown more difficult, because while the world around us here in New Zealand got back up and running, athletes were still without our races and therefore effectively our jobs. I know I am not the only athlete who felt that way. 


What would you do differently this time around?

This time around I would expect less from myself. I went into lockdown with huge motivation to use that period as an opportunity to work on some specific areas of my training/work. And while this is a great idea, I underestimated the effect of the emotional stress of lockdown on my general energy levels, recovery and adaptation to training.

Setting goals and plans for lockdown is a great idea and I would still highly recommend doing this but be kind to yourself. Don't expect huge gains and aim to move every day for enjoyment more than anything. Even as a professional athlete, I think this advice is best around exercising in such confusing and anxious times. 


The 2019 New Zealand Rally Champion and Hunt Diesel business owner Ben Hunt (Auckland).

Ben Hunt won the New Zealand Rally Championship in 2019 after a stellar year. Photo credit: Geoff Ridder.

How are you feeling about being back in Level 3?

As a heavy diesel business owner trying to service my out of Auckland customers, it is a little frustrating. We support farming, trucking and road crews and the restrictions in place make everything take longer and I now need to work through the paperwork for providing an essential service. I’m sure a lot of other New Zealanders are feeling the same.

What was your previous lockdown experience like?

On one side, I was doing really limited hours at work helping farmers or essential services. Then when I was stuck at home not working, it was quite a good break, as usually we are always running around flat out.

What would you do differently this time around?

I probably wouldn’t do anything differently. My wife Emma and I did a lot of exercise, ate healthily and kept busy. We caught up on a lot of stuff we don’t usually have time for - like baking.


Surf 2 Surf Director/Owner Paul Brunskill (Tauranga)

Surf2Surf enjoy spending time outside at the beach

How are you feeling about being back in Level 2, with Level 3 up in Auckland?

We are based in Tauranga, so I’m really feeling empathy for all those directly affected in Auckland. Right now Tauranga (in Level 2) feels like it’s already at Level 3 and you can see the serious change in residents out and about.

There is a real sense of frustration right now, but I think deep down we know we’ll get through it, and we know what to expect and what to do this time around.

We can do it again, but it is clear that the border system needs to change.


What was your previous lockdown experience like?

Overall, it was a positive experience with family, but challenging at times as a business owner. The great positive was it made us all appreciate each other and the freedom we have in life.

After the last lockdown ended, I hit the ground running like many Kiwis. In fact, at times I suffer from hobby anxiety as I like to surf, mountain bike, fish/boat, snowboard, play tennis and just got back into golf. Saturday mornings are anxious times choosing the hobby and making the most out of the day. I just can’t sit still! When I’m out and about I definitely don’t take it for granted anymore.

From a business perspective we were forced to make a range of changes many of which have improved what we do and offer.


What would you do differently this time around?

Another lockdown won’t change the way I work, as we live rurally and I work from home.

It’s always an opportunity to look out for others and offer help where needed. I think we are all better equipped, and I already have sense that things will be okay. This thing can be beaten! The more we commit individually and collectively, the safer it will be for all, and the faster we can get back to normalcy.

I look to forward to chasing swells again in my 2020 Subaru Forester!


Federated Farmers of New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Terry Copeland 

Federated Farmers use Subaru vehicles to get around the country.

How are you feeling about being back in Level 2, with Level 3 up in Auckland?

It’s really interesting to see the way staff have reacted to the news, from visible signs of anxiety, through to anger this week. Seeing certain staff’s vulnerability being embraced by traditionally sterner people around the office and a stronger sense of kindness prevailing, is a welcome side effect. We are very fortunate to have the technology to easily allow our entire team and various functions to operate effectively from home, and this time around if more, or all of the country moves into Level 3, we know we can do it seamlessly.

Being an essential service for the food production industry has kept our team focused and our communications both internal and external have ramped up again to provide as much certainty and direction during this crisis.

From a personal point of view, I use my leadership position to ensure that our teams’ family comes first, and I feel a stronger connection to my staff, which builds trust across the organisation. Like the rest of the country I am worried about what happens if this virus does take root here and the implications from both a health and economic perspective. Let’s not drop the ball now!


What was your previous lockdown experience like?

For the first couple of weeks we were so busy trying to interpret and navigate the myriad of rules and regulations for our farmers. So that they could get on and continue to produce the food and beverages our country needs for a food security perspective, as well as an exporting and economic need.

I spent a lot of time meeting (virtually) with staff to provide clarity and focus, so they were able to deliver in different ways around their family priorities. Being an extrovert and people person, I found it difficult not having actual people contact during the day, so my usual enjoyment of work was missing, the longer lockdown went on.

I personally struggled with working from home. I found the boundary between work and home so blurred that I often worked without breaks (there was no driving home time to break the work/brain focus). It was hard to balance a need to allow my 7-year-old daughter in, as she struggled with me being at home but not accessible. Sometimes she wanted to be part of my video meetings and at times quietly sat in, or on occasion actually participated!

I realised I hadn’t started my car in five weeks, but my trusty Outback had no issues coming back to life immediately when needed!


What would you do differently this time around?

One of the critical things is having a proper office chair at home. We gave our staff a small window before going into Level 4 to retrieve chairs, monitors etc from the office and this was a godsend. For those that didn’t, there were huge regrets. At our full staff virtual meeting this week we talked about if we went into level 3 or 4 (we only have one staff member out of 64 who is based in Auckland) being ready to take home whatever is needed.

From a wellbeing perspective, I want to be firmer about asking staff to schedule calendar meetings each day for walks, or exercise, for at least an hour. I didn’t do this enough last time. For those with young children, it’s really important that families come first, and we need to be flexible with work being achieved at night, or in smaller chunks. Allocating some work from some staff who have family priorities to those that are able to pick up a bit more load will be explored.

Team unity and a sense that we are all in this together will be a great result in these uncertain times.



To find more tips on what you can do while you're at home to stay active, check out some of our other Subaru Stories from our Subaru Ambassadors including Art's tips on physical activity at home, Hannah's advice on staying motivated and moving, and how to enjoy the outdoors with some backyard photography tips from our friends at Surf 2 Surf.



More Subaru Stories