Woman meets grandchild for first time as border restrictions ease

Source: 1News

The further easing of New Zealand’s border restrictions has meant a new wave of heart-warming reunions, but also some very special first meetings.

Scottish woman Gillian Lythgoe hasn’t seen her son Steven Elliot and his wife Emma since their New Zealand wedding in 2018 and since then they’ve welcomed now eight-and-a-half-month-old Skye to their family.

Skye is Gillian’s first grandchild and was brought to the airport dressed for the occasion with an “I Heart My Nana” top.

While waiting for his mum to arrive, Steven told 1News she booked tickets as soon as she found out the date she would be allowed back into the country.

Monday has seen the border reopened to fully vaccinated people from more than 50 visa waiver countries, including the United Kingdom.

“It doesn’t quite feel real,” Steven told 1News.

“It’s been a long time, obviously, without family over here.

“We knew when we moved to New Zealand we weren’t going to see family as often but I don’t think two-and-a-half-years would be the time between seeing anybody.”

“I’m sure it will all hit us when she comes through the doors.”

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It was a tearful reunion when it finally came.

“I’m just so pleased to finally be able to get down here, to actually hold this precious bundle,” Gillian said.

When asked what it was like having to wait to come over and meet her grandchild, she replied “horrible, absolutely horrible.”

Steven, meanwhile, described the meeting as "pretty awesome" and said it had been "a long time coming."