A teenager who escaped from a Hamilton isolation facility was able to spend a few hours with his dad's body, his mother says.
The 17-year-old boy allegedly fled from the Distinction Hotel in Hamilton last night along with his mother and three siblings.
His 37-year-old mother and siblings aged 12, 16 and 17, were caught by authorities near the hotel but the boy made it all the way to Auckland.
He spent about four hours with his deceased father's body before negotiating with police and being taken into custody about 4.40am, his mother told Stuff.
The family had been hoping to make it to the man's funeral today.
"I was doing what any other mother would have done for their children," the mother told the media outlet.
"The lasting effect it would have on them if they didn't get to say their goodbyes. That was my drive for this. I wanted to give my children closure."
She told the outlet the family from Brisbane to New Zealand after her children's father died on July 20.
They had hoped to get a compassionate exemption to view the man's body before Saturday's funeral, but after being taken to Hamilton, the Ministry of Health told them yesterday this had been refused because their case wasn't exceptional.
"That was the breaking point for us. We actually couldn't believe that's the words they used," the woman told Stuff.
"If that reason isn't exceptional enough, what other reasons are they looking at? This is [the] children's father's funeral.
"His children were the most important thing to him."
Officials revealed yesterday that an updated application being considered at the time of the break had been "looking positive".
But at around 6.40pm that night the family allegedly escaped out a window and tried to flee the hotel, before most were swiftly arrested and charged.
This morning, the mother and three of the children faced court as their father's funeral went ahead in Auckland.
Four of the family members were provided with the opportunity to view the funeral by video link.
The 37-year-old mother appeared in Hamilton District Court via video link, wearing a face mask, today.
The woman cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, two of whom are minors.
The children charged alongside her are aged 18, 17 and 16.
A 12-year-old who also escaped did not face charges.
Judge Noel Cocurullo granted the woman, a resident of Brisbane, bail. The woman was bailed to a managed isolation facility in Auckland.
He extended his sympathies to the woman over the death but slammed her behaviour for potentially putting New Zealanders at risk of Covid-19.
"I need to make it plain to you that the community I serve, the New Zealand public are sick and tired of people breaching the strict quarantine rules."
He said New Zealanders had done an extraordinary job keeping Covid-19 out of the community and if her actions had put that in jeopardy Kiwis would be "gutted".
She was ordered to surrender her passport and not apply for any travel documents.
Judge Cocurullo asked police to request the funeral be filmed for the family to watch at a later date.
An 18-year-old woman and 16-year-old youth, who also appeared via video link in Hamilton, were granted bail under the same conditions which included another Covid-19 test.
A 17-year-old youth appeared via video link from Waitakere District Court.
Judge Cocurullo also expressed his sympathies to the 17-year-old but said his alleged actions were very serious.
The teenager was remanded without plea and under the same bail conditions. He would be remanded at the same facility as the rest of his family.