A selection of photos from Filimone Vuna's camera roll (Supplied)

Assiduous but oblivious grandad left with phone full of QR code photos

Filimone Vuna’s heartwarming story is a good reminder that older people may not fully understand NZ Covid Tracer app technology, writes Vaimoana Tapaleao for the NZ Herald.

Sola Vuna did not think anything of it when his father called his daughter Praize over to help fix his cellphone which had started to run out of storage space.

“My daughter was looking through the phone and she came across all these photos of different QR codes. Everywhere we go, we scan our phone over the QR codes – and apparently, we thought he was doing it too.

“But we found out that he was taking photos of them.”

A snapshot from Filimone Vuna’s camera roll (Photos: supplied)

Vuna’s 67-year-old father, Filimone Vuna, had recently got a new phone, joined Facebook, and started to learn about scanning the Covid Tracer Quick Response (QR) code when going to different places.

His Gold Card also ensures he gets to enjoy a bus ride or two to get to his favourite shops on some days. “There are codes from the bus, the $2 shop, supermarkets and lots at Bunnings, where he likes to go buy tools,” said Vuna.

Filimone Vuna and wife Salome Lever Vuna. (Photo: supplied)

Vuna said they had all shared a laugh, but the experience had also proven to be a wake-up call for him and his family members. “It’s opened up our eyes too about our oldies and how we need to make sure they know how to use the app.

“It’s a good thing that we’re aware of it, especially us Pacific Islanders and people who may not be familiar with technology and how apps work or what an app even is.”

Filimone Vuna and son Sola Vuna. (Photo: Supplied)

Vuna, a teacher at Manurewa High School, shared the incident on Facebook. He said the post had brought laughter, but also heartfelt messages of support and eye-opening encouragement.

“I’ve had friends say to me: ‘It made me want to check on my olds too’.”

Vuna said his father was diligent when heading out, never forgetting to take his mask and always ‘scanning’ – taking photos of – the Covid QR codes.

“He always wears a mask on public transport and now he knows that the Covid update with Dr Ashley Bloomfield comes on Facebook – he gets a notification – so he watches that.

“When the kids are at my parents’ house, they’ll be playing their games on the TV and he pulls the plug to watch the news. “They’ll say to him: ‘Papa, that’s the same thing you just watched on Facebook’.”

Filimone’s 16-year-old granddaughter, Praize, has now installed the Covid Tracer app on her Papa’s phone and shown him how it works.

“I just want to give an encouragement to our young people to check on their elders to make sure they’re using the app correctly.”

This story was first published on the NZ Herald. Subscribe to Herald Premium here.

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