A Kiwi woman who pleaded for an exemption to quarantine rules to allow her to see her dying father has farewelled him over FaceTime.

Colin Henderson lay in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit on a ventilator, more than 11,000km away from his daughter, Rachel, in Los Angeles.

She'd hoped to fly to New Zealand, begging the Government to allow her to see the 73-year-old in his last days.

Just hours before Colin, who is suffering kidney failure, was to have another surgery, things took a turn for the worse.


"We were informed that we needed to say our last goodbyes in 30 minutes as he would not last the day," Rachel Henderson told the Herald.

"I'm in shock...my family is heartbroken."

Rachel Henderson with her children and her father Colin, who died in Christchurch Hospital. Photo / Supplied
Rachel Henderson with her children and her father Colin, who died in Christchurch Hospital. Photo / Supplied

Rachel lives with her husband and young children in Los Angeles, while her sister Kate and their mum live in Australia.

Hospital staff organised a FaceTime call with the two sisters and their families to see their dad for one last time.

Colin's elderly sister was at his bedside for his final hours, Henderson said. He died on Wednesday evening.

"I'm at home in LA consoling two children who are struggling to understand why they are unable to see grandad," she said.

"It's gut wrenching to watch your kids say goodbye over FaceTime with tears rolling down their cheeks."

Her father had urgent open heart surgery last Thursday to repair two leaky heart valves.


While the operation went well, on Tuesday Rachel got a call to say her father was back in ICU with a suspected bleed and had been put on life support.

Rachel Henderson was told to say goodbye to her father, Colin, on Facetime. Photo / Supplied
Rachel Henderson was told to say goodbye to her father, Colin, on Facetime. Photo / Supplied

She immediately called the NZ Embassy, who advised she could travel here but would have to be quarantined for two weeks before she could see her dad. They put her in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who sent her an exemption form to fill out.

Henderson earlier told the Herald that while she supported the Prime Minister's approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, she was angry and frustrated that there's been no room to move in unique situations like hers.

The Government's strict quarantine rules have come under this fire this week, after it was revealed that of 24 people in quarantine who asked to leave early to see dying relatives, not one was allowed out.

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On Friday, a High Court judge overruled Oliver Christiansen's lockdown order so that he could be at home with his dying father.

The Prime Minister has since ordered a review of all 24 cases, with findings due by the end of the week.


Another heartbroken daughter told the Herald she believed her dad's life was cut short after having no family support when he was dying in hospital.

Ken Barker was brought home to die of cancer with his family around him after Palmerston North Hospital refused to allow his children to visit him there.

"It was absolutely disgusting my dad was left alone in hospital for 10 days when he was dying," she said.

Meanwhile, a woman in woman in managed self-isolation has been granted an exemption to see her dying mother - after three applications.

Renee West and her two sons rushed home from Australia, after fears she might never see her cancer-stricken mother again.

West told Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan she's "overwhelmed, so excited, so relieved" to be able to see her mother.


Rachel Henderson - now trying to come home for a funeral rather than to say goodbye - hoped that sharing her story would help others caught in such a "horrible situation" and lead to change.

She said she was "so very grateful" to the staff at Christchurch Hospital, who did all they could for her father.

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Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website