A young Kiwi man seriously injured when he was hit by an out-of-control car is stuck in limbo in Australia - he's not entitled to a sickness benefit, but his brain injury means he can't fly home.
Dale Huhu, 21, was walking in the Sydney suburb of Narwee on July 13 when a man drove onto the footpath, knocking over a metal sign which hit Huhu in the head before the car ploughed into him.
Onlookers rushed to help Huhu, who was bleeding profusely from his head. Paramedics treated him at the scene, then took him to St George Hospital for life-saving surgery to remove a large blood clot from his skull.
The driver, Greg Eleftheriadis, was unapologetic, telling Ten Eyewitness News that "[I didn't] hit him, the post hit him" and saying he couldn't stop the car.
Witnesses said they had to stop the 69-year-old driving away. CCTV footage shows him smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper, while other people gave Huhu first aid.
Police said Eleftheriadis was taken for mandatory testing, and the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit is investigating the incident. The Huhus have not yet seen the police report.
The news has since died down, and after two weeks Huhu was discharged. But six weeks later he's still suffering.
"The left side of my face is still swollen up. I've got lots of other issues - I can't see properly out of my left eye, my hearing in my left ear is horrible, I can't taste or smell," he told the Herald.
He has migraines, anxiety attacks and is easily tired. He also sustained a serious neck strain and is struggling to sleep from the pain.
Huhu says specialists still aren't clear what's wrong, and he hasn't been given clear guidance on how to rehabilitate. He also says several GPs have declined to take him on because he's waiting for the insurance claim to be processed.
Huhu, a former Wairarapa youth councillor, moved to Australia about eight months ago as a labourer.
He had started a new sales job two weeks before the accident, but has been told he's unlikely to be back at work for at least five months. He can't get signoff to fly home with his injury - and in Australia, he's not entitled to a benefit.
Work and Income New Zealand has told his mother until he sets foot on New Zealand soil they can't help him.
Mum Dana Huhu cashed in all her savings and flew over as soon as she heard her only child was fighting for his life in hospital. But she eventually had to come back to New Zealand.
"The money only held out for so long. I had to return home, it was so hard to leave my son in the condition he was still in but I had bills to pay," Dana said.
Her boy's been left living off the generosity of a good Samaritan - the grandmother of a man he used to work with. Sandra Mannell, 75, has been feeding him, taking him to appointments and letting him stay with her, all for free.
His benefactor told Ten Eyewitness News Huhu is "a really nice young fellow - he didn't deserve this".
Now Huhu and mum Dana want to fundraise to help pay the costs of Mannell, who's on the pension.
"I've got no carer to look after me. If I could have my mum here - but I know she's got things to pay for as well. It's not easy on her," Huhu said.
"But it's impossible to look after myself."
Thankfully, Eleftheriadis's third-party insurance will eventually pay Huhu's soaring medical costs, and should cover any ongoing suffering related to the accident.
"But until then he's living off the generosity of others. If it wasn't for this woman he'd be on the street," Dana said.
She's started a Givealittle page to help with Mannell's costs and, eventually, to help her visit her son again.
"She's paying for everything ... She's running him to his appointments. She's 75 and she's undergoing her own health issues. But at the same time she's taking care of my son - she's just been amazing," Dana said.
Support to the Givealittle page, from family, friends and strangers, has been "overwhelming", she says.
But she's angry at the "unjust" laws that stop her son receiving help.
"I feel this is an unjust system where something that not of his doing is punished because of bylaws from both the Australian and NZ government," she said.
The New Zealand Government website warns Kiwis heading to Australia they can't apply for unemployment or sickness benefits until two years after applying for permanent residence - itself an arduous process.
Under the heading "When things go wrong", the site warns, "NZ government offices in Australia have no money to help you if you get into financial problems.
"Work and Income can't pay emergency benefits to people outside NZ."