The father of a New Zealand woman living in Los Angeles seeking a quarantine exemption so she could see him again has died.

Rachel Henderson was urgently seeking an exemption from the two-week mandatory isolation period forced upon all overseas arrivals.

Her father, Colin, 73, was in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit with failing kidneys and was in an induced coma on a ventilator.

Rachel Henderson with her children and her father Colin. Photo / Supplied
Rachel Henderson with her children and her father Colin. Photo / Supplied

He has since died and Henderson had booked a flight for Sunday out of Los Angeles bound for New Zealand.


"I am resigned to be spending 14 days alone without my family in order to make suitable arrangements for my dad," she said.

"We have no control over anything from here in the US. My dad lies in a morgue, results of death pending."

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It comes after five previously rejected applications for people to leave compulsory isolation to see their dying relatives had been overturned.

The Ministry of Health announced yesterday it had completed a review of 32 applications for an exemption from managed isolation on compassionate grounds.

All were initially turned down, including that of Oliver Christiansen, who successfully challenged the decision in the High Court.

He was able to spend 36 hours with his dying father, Anthony Christiansen, after Justice Tracey Walker said the ministry got it wrong.

Henderson was not as fortunate: "It's outrageous ... "I'm defeated," she said.

She did reach out to Christiansen's lawyer's for help, who said she would unlikely get an exemption because her father was in hospital, increasing the risk she could expose vulnerable people to Covid-19.


"I understand and would never want to put anyone else at risk but it's heartbreaking all the same," she told the Herald earlier this week.

While she was fully supportive of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's approach to the Covid-19 crisis, she said it was "unacceptable" allowances were not being made on compassionate grounds for those with dying family members.

"Living [in the USA], with our current president, I wish I was in New Zealand with such great management," Henderson said.

"I'm in no way critical of how she has handled the situation but in these particular cases we just want access to our loved ones who are dying."

On Tuesday, Ardern defended the decisions that had been made around compassionate exemption but said it was right to go back and review them, saying the cases were "devastating".

But they didn't want to double people's grief by allowing unsafe situations - and some were very complicated.


Twenty people who had come into the country and been quarantined had since tested positive, which showed the risks they carried, she said.