The family of a Northland teenager who died after a car crash are battling the Government to allow overseas-based quarantined family members an exemption to attend her tangi.
Trinity Flavell's life support at Auckland City Hospital was switched off last week, a day after seven family members including her older brother and a younger sister flew in from Australia to see her.
Her aunt Syphia Talisa is challenging the Ministry of Health's decision to decline an exemption which, she says, has left her family angry and frustrated.
Flavell, 18, was driving a car with four friends as passengers on their way to dive for scallops and kina at Whangārei Heads when the vehicle slammed into a power pole near the intersection of Pipiwai and Matarau Rds on September 5.
She was airlifted to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition while her passengers were treated for moderate injuries at Whangārei Hospital.
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Talisa said the tangi would depend on the release of their family members currently in isolation.
"I've gone to the Ombudsman on the matter. We are grieving already but the fact is we are suffering because of politics and red tape. It's not just us but other people in a similar situation that are also affected.
"We've had people coming into the country without any quarantine because of their wealth or status. People have been released on day seven, day 10, day 12 of their isolated period.
"But for us, they wouldn't even allow her family who are only four minutes away from the hospital to see her for a few hours before her life support was turned off," she said.
The earliest her quarantined family members can complete quarantine if an exemption wasn't granted would be at 8.20pm on September 24.
A ministry spokeswoman said exemptions for exceptional circumstances, such as to visit a dying relative, were only approved when the public health risk was assessed to be very low and could be managed.
Most exemptions were granted for people to join unaccompanied minors, people in transit, or people whose medical needs required hospital-level care, she said.
"Because of the serious public health risk involved, it is unlikely approval will be granted to attend a funeral or tangi where there may be multiple people gathered. This would create an unacceptable risk of potential Covid-19 transmission."
In a small number of cases, she said, exemptions were approved for a temporary period and those exempted needed to return to the managed isolation facility to complete their 14 days.
Flavell suffered severe multiple trauma injuries including brain damage, multiple broken bones, injury to the liver and a tear in the airway.
She had two cardiac arrests, four surgeries, had her right lung removed and she was classified as brain dead.
Talisa created a Givealittle page which had raised $12,438 by 2pm yesterday.She described Flavell as a "sweet, gentle soul" who supported her family members through difficult times.
Before the lockdown, for a few months the 18-year-old worked on a private yacht which cruised around Fiji.
"She had always wanted to travel so had a dream job. She lived and breathed in the water and she was taught by the best in her whānau."
Talisa said Flavell had experienced and suffered a lot of grief after losing her dad Rio, mum Carlene, and father figures uncles Tony, Shannon and Leon.
Flavell had been able to pull through these painful experiences with the support of her sister Rakaia, brother Tawhiri and love of whānau, the aunt said.
Talisa was in Auckland for a function and was the first family member to see Flavell when the teenager was flown to hospital.
Her death brings to 20 the number of road fatalities in Northland so far this year.