Alexandra man Ian Glover is applying for his first passport, at age 89, so he can be reunited with his wife for the first time in eight months.

Mr Glover has been battling to gain New Zealand residency for his wife Aurora, 67, a Philippine citizen, for as long as they have been married - almost five years.

He met her in Alexandra, through friends, and Mrs Glover had been living and working in the town for most of their marriage until returning to the Philippines in March.

Her mother died earlier this year and she went back to the Philippines to sort out her mother's estate.


Mrs Glover has diabetes and an application for a New Zealand residence visa had been denied in the past because of her health.

Since she has returned to the Philippines, her condition worsened and she is now on dialysis once a week.

As a non-New Zealand resident, the cost of dialysis treatment in this country is prohibitive, so she has remained in her home country for treatment and the couple have been separated since March.

"Although she's been turned down for residency here because of her health - she doesn't meet the health standards because of her diabetes, we're hoping to appeal that on humanitarian grounds," Mr Glover said this week.

"Being separated is hard. We talk on the phone every day but she's very sad and usually ends up in tears."

"They think she'll be a burden on the health system here, if she was granted residency, but nobody can help being ill. If it was 10 extra Kiwis who had diabetes, the system would cope and just absorb the costs," he said.

Mr Glover said he had worked 30 years for the Government, in the Post Office, had served in the air force and fought for his country, so he believed he had "done his bit" for the country and was not asking much in return.

"Irene [Aurora] wants to be back here and this is the time of my life when I should have a bit of companionship. I'm living on my own now, so you keep thinking about the situation all the time."

He has never been overseas before but plans a visit to the Philippines at the end of next month, to see his wife. Although he keeps in good health, he is unsure how he would cope living overseas.

Next month he will also meet Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, to discuss the couple's situation.