Learning that his 25-year-old wife Monique had a rapidly growing cancerous lung tumour was hard for Ahipara man Beau Dickins, but being told that she needed surgery within two weeks, and that it would cost around $50,000, was overwhelming.

Wellwishers are rallying, however.

Already more than $40,000 has been given via Givealittle.

The problem is UK-born Monique is not a New Zealand citizen, although she is applying for residency.

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She, Beau and their children, 18-month-old Marlon and five-month-old Margo, are now well settled at Ahipara.

The couple met in the UK while Beau was there playing rugby.

"I met her at a bar.

"We hit things off pretty quickly and we didn't mess around," he said.

They moved to New Zealand in 2017, while Monique was carrying Marlon and with Beau unable to obtain a visa to stay there.

They married, and Marlon arrived, but Monique became homesick, so they returned to Britain, but not for long.

Pregnant with Margo, Monique decided that she wanted to raise her children in New Zealand, and, about eight months ago, they made their home at Ahipara.

It was only when she had a chest X-ray, as part of her residency application, that Monique was told she had a problem.

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"At first it was a shock but then they say it can be 10 different kinds of things.

"It can be a shadow, it can be an infection in your lung, it can be pneumonia, it can be a tumour, it can be cancer. So at the time we were trying not to over-think it, we were trying to be positive," Beau said.

Scans in Auckland found a rapidly growing cancerous tumour that required surgery within two weeks, however.

And because she was not a New Zealand resident she would have to pay for it.

"It breaks your heart.

"I'm at home a lot because I've got to help with the kids because they're very close in age and it's very hard work," he said.

"And then with that hanging over your head, who the hell can fork out $50,000? It just hits you like a curve ball," Beau said.

And he was unimpressed that his wife did not have access to the public health system.

"I think it's a load of crap.

"We're a solid couple, I'm married to her, we've had two kids in New Zealand," he said.

"People might say 'Go back to the UK and do it,' but we've got no house in the UK, and Monique's mum is dealing with breast cancer so she can't help us."

Monique was "pretty scared but brave", he said.