New Zealand deports tetraplegic man after six year battle

Published:  28 Dec at 6 PM
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A 61-year old Tongan migrant who injured his spine whilst in New Zealand on a visitor’s visa has finally been deported after a six-year battle to stay in the country.

Semisi Ma’afu Samui was deported to Tonga on 22 December, leaving his daughter and her family in New Zealand afraid that he will soon die due to lack of correct medical care in his home country. The battle to allow him to stay in New Zealand as a dependent began in 2006, when he permanently injured his spine during an accident while visiting with his daughter.

Before he left, Samui told the New Zealand Herald he was unhappy about going home, but was leaving to protect his daughter, whom, he feared, might be in trouble with immigration if he continued his fight to stay. Laumanu Ma’afu, Samui’s daughter, said she was very sad he was leaving as it’s a struggle on Tonga to get medical help and survive, adding that was why she had migrated to New Zealand.

Although he had been advised he should travel on a stretcher, his family could not afford the NZ$6,500 cost, meaning the tetraplegic was forced to undertake the flight in an economy class seat paid for by his daughter. Fortunately, Samui arrived in Tonga unharmed, and will be looked after by his wife, aided by NZ$10,000’s worth of equipment including a bed, hoist and wheelchair donated on condition he agreed to leave the country.
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