Anthropologist, Child Health Researcher, Ethnographic Illustrator
Pandemic Generation Comic Gallery
Children aged 7-11 from all across Tāmaki-Makaurau (Auckland) made comics to tell their stories of growing up during the Covid-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand. Kids chose whether they wanted to draw their own comic, tell the researcher what to draw for them, or draw their comic together.
To protect the privacy of child participants and their families, all names are pseudonyms (or “secret names”). Most children chose their own secret name, which is why some of them are a little unusual!
Click on the thumbnail below to see the full comic.
The Comic Book
Lola, age 7, North Shore
Lola won player of the day at netball and was excited to go on stage at school assembly on Monday to be awarded her trophy. But, Auckland went into level 4 lockdown and Lola never got on that stage. Lockdown lasted so long, Lola thought it had been 5 months (it had been 3). She missed her friends but finally her mum agreed to let her go play at their house. Lola always watched her mum to check she scanned the QR codes and reminded her if she forgot.
Izzy didn’t know what a pandemic is, but she remembered getting stung by wasps in the treehouse. Lockdown just meant playing at home with her brothers and going to the dairy. Her birthday was a bit strange though: first one friend came for one hour, then that friend left and another came. She remembered they had cupcakes rather than a cake: for virus transmission prevention, her mum told me after.
Kitten, age nearly 8, East Auckland
The first chapter of Kitten’s comic shows what she and her friends did during lockdown. The second chapter is about learning what lockdown means. The first panel is Jacinda Ardern on the TV. When Kitten was six she didn’t really understand what was going on, but now she’s nearly eight she understands things like how to wear your mask properly and always take the swab thing even if you don’t like it. The third chapter shows Kitten in a moon boot after she broke her foot on the trampoline. Her dad and little brother took her to the hospital. The last chapter is pictures Julie drew under Kitten’s direction. Her cat kept vomiting on her bed during lockdown.
Blaze R, age 10, East Auckland/Japan
Blaze R lives in Japan but came to visit his family in New Zealand for several months during the pandemic. In Japan, the pandemic was called “State of Emergency” and that meant people voluntarily stayed home. One big memory was when one of his teachers got covid and Blaze had to be tested. Blaze was mostly relieved it was a saliva test not the up-the-nose. When he came to New Zealand Blaze stayed in MIQ. “it was kind of a pretty new experience being locked in,” he said, because in Japan they don’t have MIQ. Blaze found MIQ hard because he was too old for the kids’ meals but the adult meals didn’t cater to his needs either (lots of bok choy, kale and quinoa, when he would have preferred macaroni). At exercise time “they said that I wasn’t allowed to run so felt very restricted about that too.” Overall, Blaze felt like “because [the pandemic has] been going on for such a long time it almost feels like normal life” [illustrated by Julie in the last panel as directed by Blaze].
Hudson, age 11, North Shore
“What would you say is like your overall memory or the overall feeling that stands out to you about this?” Julie asked Hudson about the pandemic. “Depression,” said Hudson. “Because I haven’t been able to see many people so far. Yeah only my classmates so.”
Hudson directed Julie to draw his comic. For him, getting a new puppy was most helpful for his coping and for reenergising him when he’d been laying around stuck at home too long. He has spent a lot of his childhood waiting: for lockdown to end; for more schoolwork to do after he finished early; for the world to get into a steadier place. “It’s the waiting game,” he said.
Jay Cannon, age 9, North Shore
Ananya, age 9, West Auckland
Sofia, age 10, East Auckland
Santa, age 8, West Auckland
Endegirl, age 10, West Auckland
For Endegirl (Santa’s sister), the lockdown was so long that by the time she had to ride in a car again she’d forgotten what it was like and felt carsick!
Secret Sloth, age 10, West Auckland
Lachie, age 9, West Auckland
Loki, age 11, North Shore
James, age 8, South Auckland
James first heard rumours of Covid coming from a bat. His mum is a nurse, and his family have a lot of talks about Covid-19 around the dinner table, so he knows a lot. But lockdowns were boring and he found online school hard because his dad had his own work to do. He missed his friends and it was hard to connect with them over the screen. Luckily, he said, “I just fitted in my birthday party this year. It was on June the 28th it was between those two lockdowns.” James was impressed by politicians’ fancy clothes and would dress up and put on Covid-19 press conferences for his family. He was so happy to be back at school after lockdown, but the devastated when he was sick and had to wait for his positive test result before he could go to school. He cried. James made the family rule: no Covid-19 talk on holiday. “But when we were driving back, there was a lot of talk about Covid and everything which I said turn it off, turn it off!”
Fifi, age 10, South Auckland
Poprocks, age 10, North Shore
Saara, age 10, South Auckland
Connor, age 10, South Auckland
Katty, age 8, North Shore
Jonathan, age 8, South Auckland
McKenzy, age 9, West Auckland
Evilpiggie, age 7, East Auckland
Evilpiggie directed two researchers in how to draw his comic. First his comic shows his experience in MIQ. Their hotel’s exercise area was very small and they could only walk around in tight circles. But Evilpiggie and his little sister invented silly ways to walk to make it more fun. “Make sure they’re actually social distancing so they’re not like right next to [each other]” Evilpiggie instructed Julie when she was drawing the view from above of other families walking. Evilpiggie’s family prepared for MIQ with lots of toys and games, like Lego, Uno, and a marble run. During lockdowns, Evilpiggie missed having friends to play with. He said “I wish I could have a change of person because like I have to play with [my sister] for like a month.”