A Ugandan student who thought his life had "come to an end" says he can't find words to describe his how grateful he is to Kiwis whose donations helped free him from a Thai airport detention centre.

In a bittersweet series of events, Wellingtonian Warkina Tujuba, was detained in Bangkok for having a stitching issue with his passport.

Tujuba was held for 36 hours but said he was lucky to have the support of friends, family and the New Zealand consulate, however not everyone was so lucky.

"The embassy were phenomenal, as soon as they got my message, they said on the phone like let's get you out of there, i'm so sorry you had to go through this and how can we help," Tujuba said.


During his time in the holding centre, Tujuba sparked up a friendship with student Kim Maxwell Rogers.

The Twenty-three-year-old had received a scholarship to study in China, however his dreams were dashed when officials in Shanghai said his visa had been filled out incorrectly and deported him to his last port of entry - Bangkok.

Rogers said because he had spent all of his money on the flight over as he would be working in China, he did not have money to pay for a return flight.

He spent five days at the centre, and was told they would soon be "moving him" as he could not afford a flight home.

"I only clinged [sic] to hope that maybe someday I will leave this place maybe after serving in prison or something like that."

Like Tujuba, Rogers also emailed his embassy, but was not offered substantial support and was told he had to buy his own ticket home.

Tujuba was frustrated with their inaction and decided to take matters online to save his new friend.

He made a Facebook fundraiser asking fellow New Zealander's to chip in to get Rogers home.


"On top of everything, he's got this fear of being moved, which to where? only God knows and to top that he has to pay a $60 detention fee for each night he's there, so it's basically this circular process of being punched in the face."

In just over 24 hours, the fundraiser received $2860, which was more than enough to buy Rogers' flight home and pay for his detention fees, with the remaining excess going to charity.

Ugandan detainee in Bangkok Kim Maxwell Rogers thanks his supporters for donating and funding his flights out of Thailand. Video / Supplied

"I've never met or seen these people but in that detention room where we were I felt really encouraged and emotional to know that the world has still got people with such good hearts," Rogers said.

Although he is now unable to attend his scholarship course in China, Rogers said he was forever grateful for New Zealand's generosity and feels like he has a family away from home.

Tujuba said the process hasn't put him off travelling in the future and the speed at which the funds were raised was a testament to the empathy felt within this country.

The New Zealand Safe Travel website advises Kiwis who lose or damage their passports to contact the nearest New Zealand Embassy or High Commission for assistance and advice on obtaining a replacement travel document