Kiwis Surviving Self-Isolation: Richard Tait

Co-Chair of the Wellington International Pride Parade, Richard Tait has local businesses on his brain during Lockdown. His advice for business owners: ‘use the government subsidies to the full.’

Tell us about your Level 4 Lockdown – where are you? Who’s in your bubble? And what are you doing to keep your mental health in check?
It’s all a blur as to how I got into lockdown – for me, it was a bit earlier than most.  After the (Wellington International Pride) Parade I had gone to Rarotonga to recover! But then the borders started to close, and I came back into 14 days’ isolation. It was a very spooky experience landing in NZ and having a health checkpoint with a huge queue. It was the start of a bubble of just me, myself and I! 

What are your top tips for express readers who are struggling with self-isolation?
I work for a business that runs residential accommodation – so an essential business. We have 400 odd tenancies and 20 staff so managing that remotely is full-on. What I would say to any business is ‘use the government subsidies to the full.’ Look after your staff, even if you can only pass on the subsidy, and work with your team because the only way we will recover is to have your loyal team players working together when a sense of normalcy returns.

What is the most positive aspect of self-isolation you’ve experienced so far?
I’m loving connecting via technology – I certainly don’t feel alone when I can chat via Zoom, Messenger etc. Having regular check-ins with friends and virtual drink times. I’ve also caught up with people that I have not spoken to for ages, even if it’s a quick “Hello, how are you?”.

What plans do you have between now and day 28 of lockdown?
Work, mainly – supporting my team who are dealing with our tenants to make sure they have everything they need. I wrote a “I am going to achieve this” list when I was on the plane back to NZ – after 9 days, I’ve not ticked one item off, so I have plenty to keep me busy!  

What are you missing most about ‘normal life’?
I’m going a little stir crazy as I have taken isolation seriously and not once been out of the house. So it’s just the simple things I’m looking forward to the most – going for a walk, to the supermarket, seeing people in the flesh.

What will be the first thing that you can’t wait to do when regular life resumes?
Hook up! 😊 (Jokes!). I want to go to a restaurant and support our local businesses, have a drink at S&M’s and have a night with my mates in the real world. I am hoping to get to some World Pride events in the future – if the borders ever open.   

Moving forward is there anything you think you will change about your life following self-isolation?
I am involved with InterPride and so spend time online with people from all over the world. I think we can get too hooked up on technology and whilst it’s been a great thing at the moment, I want to spend more time with people in real life, having real conversations.  

Is there a closing message you would like to share with our gorgeous LGBTI+ community?
There is a lot of people that are doing this really hard, people have lost jobs and incomes and are struggling to survive. As a community, we have had division, arguments, and struggled to unite as one. I hope that this time we will take the opportunity to reflect, think about what is really important to our community and show the world that we can be a united group, that we are Proud and that we deserve and demand equality for all.