Immigration NZ has granted a border exemption for the UK-based family of Josh Storer, who is lying in a coma in an Auckland hospital, to enter the country.
It comes after the NZ Herald today conveyed the desperate plea from his immediate family to enter New Zealand to be at the bedside of their much-loved son and brother, whose recovery hangs in the balance.
Storer, 25, suffered serious injuries at North Shore's The Albany bar and restaurant on Friday night. He is in intensive care after undergoing two brain surgeries.
Today, an Immigration NZ spokesperson confirmed the agency had determined their circumstances met the "high threshold" to be granted a border exemption and could apply for a visa.
Storer's parents Dawn and Ian, and his sister Sian, spoke to the Herald about the pain they felt living in the United Kingdom while their son and brother is in hospital.
The fully vaccinated family had filled out an exemption form to enter the country on Friday (UK time) and expected to wait at least five business days for a response.
New Zealand's border restrictions are in place for all travellers, bar New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, those travelling from a quarantine-free location or people who had been granted a border exemption.
A spokesperson said the Storers' circumstances met the "high threshold" to be granted a border exemption.
"[Ian] and Dawn Storer, along with their daughter, were invited to apply for a Critical Purpose visitor visa yesterday," the spokesperson said.
The Albany bar where Josh was injured has created a Givealittle page for their "local customer and good friend" to help bring his family to New Zealand.
The family recently had a Zoom call with one of Storer's doctors who presented the family with the cruel but "blatantly honest" reality they face.
"He told us there were three scenarios," Ian said.
"One, he won't survive. Two, he could survive but with damage, and three, he could survive and almost return, maybe, to normal."
It was too early to tell what Storer's future would look like, as doctors have to wait for the swelling in his brain to go down.
The young man has had two surgeries - one to remove part of the skull due to brain swelling, and one to drill through the skull to insert a catheter.