Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: ‘Come on whānau, speak up’ – Whangārei man’s call after elderly expected to queue at supermarket in the rain

Elderly shoppers can expect better care at Northland supermarkets after a Whangārei man’s online plea for more humanity towards older people struck a chord at home and abroad.

Sye Peita shared a video of himself on social media on Tuesday expressing his disappointment with his local supermarket Tikipunga Countdown.

Peita said around 12 elderly people, who looked in their 70s and 80s, were forced to wait in line because the manager reportedly didn’t want too many people in the store on “gold card day”.

The supermarket chain offers a 5 per cent discount to customers aged 65 and over who present their SuperGold card at selected stores on Tuesdays.

“It didn’t sit right with me because these old people were out standing in line…there was a little bit of rain and it got a bit cold,” Peita said.

“For them it’s quite an anxious time for them to have to come out of their bubbles and come to do the shopping. You can see it on them.”

Peita, raised by a mother who taught him to love and respect everyone – especially the older generation, tapped on the window to grab a staff member’s attention so he could speak to the duty manager.

“…the question I said to him is why are our kaumātua and kuia, our elderly, having to wait in line. His first response to me was, ‘oh, we don’t to get too many people in there because it’s gold card day’.”

Peita hit back at the remark in his video: “well mate, gold card day worked all their lives. They worked hard. They’re the true foundation of our country.”

“You’re telling me that because it’s gold card day, you don’t want too many people in there, but you’re quick to take the money? Come on, bro. This is about our people, our elderly.”

During his video, he challenged people to be more than just keyboard warriors who came home and posted about what they saw instead of taking action in the moment.

“I’m also asking people, out there, if you see something stand up for our kaumātua. Stand up for our kuia, for our old people. Say something…make them feel that someone out there cares for them.”

The video has since gone viral in the four days since it was posted with more than 128k views from around the world.

Peita’s inbox has exploded with messages of thanks and praise from people around the country, Australia, and even 18,000km away in the United Kingdom.

One Brit told Peita, they had been inspired to follow in his footsteps and care for the elderly the same way he does.

Countdown communications advisor Ally Orr said all of their store teams had been asked to keep an eye out for older Kiwis to make sure they can enter stores quicker.

“If anyone sees another customer in the line who may need a little extra help, we would ask that they please just politely let our team know.”

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