Samoan mother's dash to America nearly complete

A Samoan mother-of-three, seeking to retrieve her children from the United States of America amidst race riots and the spreading coronavirus, says her journey is halfway complete. 

Louisa Te’i is in Los Angeles, California, preparing to board a flight on Sunday with her three children – sons Tūmanako, Tāne and daughter Tiararaina Te'i.

“I'm excited to return home to Aotearoa with my family. This is what I wanted. It's why I came to America – to bring my children home,” Louisa told the Samoa Observer.

“I'm grateful to the New Zealand Government for approving the exceptions [to her travel] and also for keeping the country safe by requiring managed isolation from anyone entering the country.”

While Mrs. Te’i is a New Zealand national, her two sons. who are U.S. citizens, have received special exemptions to enter New Zealand.

“The two boys who are U.S. citizens, received exemptions from the New Zealand Government to travel to New Zealand on condition that they travel with me” Louisa said.

The family will be subject to the usual isolation and quarantine procedures. 

“We will all be tested for the COVID-19 virus on arrival in New Zealand and will be subjected to two weeks of managed isolation in an Auckland hotel before we can go to my home,” she said.

Mrs. Te’i, a publicist and tour guide who owns and operates a travel agency,, says she has lots of plans for the family’s return. 

“We have a road trip planned once we get out of the two weeks of managed isolation. I work as a tour guide in New Zealand during the summer. I get paid to show tourists the best of my country,” she said.

“I'm planning to take my kids on a special [...] tour of New Zealand to reconnect with the land and visit friends and family who have been so supportive throughout this process.”

“My California kids don't really own warm clothes so we will be stocking up on winter gear and then hitting the road; I have some adventures planned for them like bungee jumping, hiking, maybe skiing.”

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