Ashley Bloomfield has been humbled by Fiji Tourism's "wonderful and irresistible" offer to host him for a hard-earned getaway as he prepares to step down from his role as NZ's Director-General of health.
Fiji said "vinaka vakalevu" (thank you very much) to Dr Ashley for his hard mahi amid the pandemic in a video message extending the invite. In the clip, the locals suggest he and his whanau could get a "booster of happiness" in Fiji after a turbulent two years.
The video shows 6-year-old Ratu Isikeli Sauturaga telling Dr Ashley that the country’s traffic-light system is "a lot more relaxed" as he sips a traffic light mocktail, and Mohammed Zoheeb invites him to enjoy a much-needed shot of vitamin D on their shores.
Meanwhile, Marika Ratulele jokes about Chris Hipkins’ infamous line, telling Ashley that there’s “plenty of room to spread your legs” as he sprints down the national Seven’s training ground, located in Fiji’s Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park.
After seeing the clip, Ashley told Stuff he had fond memories of travelling to Fiji previously, and knew "just how much it has to offer".
"The last two years have definitely been busy and I’m looking forward to having a bit of time to reacquaint myself with our Pacific whānau," he said.
Seeing the traffic light cocktails, the wide open spaces to stretch your legs, the relaxing beaches and warm welcome - Fiji is definitely on my short list and I need no encouragement to get back.
Dr Ashley is set to finish up as NZ's Director-General of health on July 29, having announced he intends to spend more time with his family.
Tourism Fiji's New Zealand Regional Director Sonya Lawson said he had "given many dedicated years of service to the New Zealand public, and has earnt himself a well-deserved holiday".
"We would be delighted to share our year-round tropical warmth, pristine coastlines and world-renowned Bula spirit with Ashley and his family."