A Kiwi man facing a month in transit in a Brazilian airport has landed back in New Zealand after securing a flight home.

And he's thanking the Herald for its help.

Kepa Harris was initially worried he was caught up in the Government's announcement of axing flights returning to New Zealand.

However, he wasn't.

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New Zealander Kepa Harris, 29, today says he's relieved to finally be home and not stuck in transit in Sao Paulo's Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport. Photo / Supplied
New Zealander Kepa Harris, 29, today says he's relieved to finally be home and not stuck in transit in Sao Paulo's Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport. Photo / Supplied

Qatar Airways confirmed Harris wasn't among the capped 50 passengers allowed to board his flight to Sydney. Australian authorities have capped the number of passengers able to land in the country on each flight.

But last Wednesday it left Harris with just $40 in his wallet after he'd already spent 3 days in transit waiting for his connecting flight.

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He was booked onto another flight but that wasn't until August 10.

At the time he said he was told by Qatar Airways the boarding denial was due to an announcement from Megan Woods, the minister in charge of Covid-19 quarantine and isolation facilities, yesterday morning that the Government would restrict seats on international flights for people wanting to return to New Zealand.

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But both the minister's office and Air NZ confirmed that was not the case.

In a statement yesterday, a spokesman for Qatar Airways said due to the restrictions into Australia, airlines had to rebook some customers to comply with the regulations.

"In this particular case, our customer was not among the 50 passengers allowed to travel to Sydney on the flight he planned to take, and therefore could not be boarded in Sao Paolo.

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"In the meantime, he has been rebooked on an alternative Qatar Airways flight, which has already left Brazil to Qatar, from where the passenger will travel to Australia and onwards to his final destination in New Zealand."

When contacted today, the father of four said he arrived in Auckland at 4pm yesterday and was now in quarantine.


Despite the miscommunication, he said he doubted he would have arrived home so quickly without help from the Herald.

"I think if I did not reach out to the media I would still be in Brazil transit till the 10th [August] like originally [thought].

"It's such a relief to be home even though I'm in quarantine at the moment I still feel much better and safer in New Zealand."