Stranded in paradise but longing to go home

Saturday April 11, 2020 Written by Published in Weekend
Susanne and Giuseppe Martegani at the remnants of Punanga Nui Market. 20032717 Susanne and Giuseppe Martegani at the remnants of Punanga Nui Market. 20032717

While sipping on a cup of green tea every morning a Swiss couple keeps a strong smile as they enjoy every moment of being in Rarotonga.


But at the same time, they are hoping that soon they will get on a flight and return home to Switzerland.

Giuseppe (74) and Susanna Martegani (77) are being provided with accommodation at Air New Zealand manager Marisa Newman’s home in Arorangi, enjoying the tropical paradise without any worry for now.

They have been visiting Rarotonga every year, and last year they spent time in Aitutaki.

This year they planned to return home to their friends and family immediately after their holiday in the Cook Islands but this did not eventuate after New Zealand decided to close its borders.

Susanna said they have been trying to return, but unable to secure connecting flights. Now their only hope is New Zealand opening its borders.

Stephenie Jansen from Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre assisted and arranged accommodation for the couple.

Jansen said the couple were due to fly out this month, but recognising that things were changing rapidly, they have been trying to get home earlier than anticipated.

She said they were only allowed in New Zealand for the 24 hours in transit and needed to purchase an onward ticket.

Jansen also said they managed to book flights but their connecting flights were cancelled five times.

The couple have to secure a flight to Japan with a link to Germany, then home to Switzerland.

Last month, they checked in at the Rarotonga Airport for their flight and were given the green light.

They checked out of their accommodation and went to say goodbye at the Discover Centre but then arrived later in the afternoon after being informed that the “window” of opportunity had shut in New Zealand and foreign nationals could no longer transit.

At the moment, she said all they can do is enjoy the Rarotonga environment.

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