When Kugan Kandaiah was granted asylum in New Zealand in 2008, he thought he had escaped from the atrocities of Sri Lanka's civil war.

A year later, the 48-year-old heard in the news that the war that dragged on for nearly three decades had ended, and thought the dream of reuniting with his family members was about to become a possibility.

Kandaiah, who lost his entire left leg in the war and wounded his right leg, then got a dreaded phone call from home.

His mother, 77, sister, 55, brother, 46, his sister-in-law and a 7-year-old nephew had all been