Help for move to Tonga

By Kathryn Powley

Lutimila Ma'afu with sick husband Semisi Ma'afu Samiu. Photo / Doug Sherring
Lutimila Ma'afu with sick husband Semisi Ma'afu Samiu. Photo / Doug Sherring

A tetraplegic man under threat of deportation will reluctantly leave New Zealand next week.

The Herald on Sunday reported last week Immigration New Zealand ordered Semisi Ma'afu Samiu, 61, out of the country after his visitor's visa expired.

Samiu lost the use of his limbs after injuring his spine in 2006. But Samiu had defied Immigration and remained here, his family fearing he would not survive a return to his native Tonga where facilities for disabled people are limited.

Another concern was that he couldn't take invaluable equipment belonging to ACC with him.

Samiu's daughter Laumanu Ma'afu said some of those barriers had now been resolved.

"ACC has approved for him to have the equipment. Immigration is going to pay for the freight back to Tonga for the three pieces." His bed will go by cargo.

She believed the breakthrough was due in part to publicity in the Herald on Sunday.

The family is still trying to find the $878 to cover his airfare home.

- Herald on Sunday

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