Samalulu steers through unforeseen seas

One of three athletic siblings, Samalulu Clifton is edging towards her dream of representing New Zealand in two water sports. But lockdown has whipped up an unexpected family challenge.

Samalulu Clifton is no stranger to paddling her way through rough water. But the aspiring surf lifesaver and kayaker has had to brave a completely different storm in the past two months - with her parents stranded 8500km away during lockdown. And the couple are still stuck in the Falkland Islands - with no idea when they will get a flight back to New Zealand. "I'm just at home with my siblings, but luckily we're all pretty much adults," the 21-year-old Clifton says. She has a brother, Tuva’a, who’s 22, and an 18-year-old sister, Aotea – all three are athletes who live in the family home in central Auckland. “It’s definitely made us realise how much our parents actually do for us,” laughs Clifton. “But we’ve made a roster for cooking and chores so we’re all keeping in check.” Clifton says her parents had just recently married and decided to visit the territory in the South Atlantic Ocean where her dad is from, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “They haven’t travelled anywhere my whole life, they waited 25 years to get married – and then this happens,” she says. “They have limited WiFi access so they try to call us when they can.”