A South African man whose beloved nephew died suddenly this week is fighting bureaucracy to fly home with his Kiwi partner for the funeral.

Brian Rutgers, 56, who moved from Cape Town to Auckland 15 years ago, said the death of his 32-year-old nephew from a heart attack had come as a shock.

But the pain has been compounded by the fact that he could be making the 11,000km journey home without his Kiwi partner, Linda Owens, 55, because the South African High Commission in New Zealand no longer issues emergency visas.

"I'm just feeling gutted, and just very angry