Were you on the flight?
Email the Herald Newsdesk
An investigation has been started into how a heavily pregnant Samoan woman was able to gain a travelling visa, board an aircraft to Auckland and give birth mid-flight without anyone noticing.
The 30-year-old, who boarded a flight from Apia to Auckland early on Wednesday morning, was yesterday facing police investigations after it was found that she had given birth during the flight and dumped the child in a rubbish bin.
The Herald has learned that the baby was found abandoned in a rubbish bin inside Auckland International Airport.
Earlier reports said the newborn was found in a rubbish bin in a toilet on the aircraft.
Immigration New Zealand said an investigation was being carried out into how a heavily pregnant woman was able to board the flight.
Local airline policies state that women more than five months into their pregnancy cannot travel, unless they are New Zealand citizens.
The woman is said to be a Samoan citizen, who was possibly travelling with a group of up to 70 labourers connected to the recognised seasonal employment scheme, under which labourers from the Pacific are brought in for seasonal work, such as apple picking.
"Immigration New Zealand has asked its Apia branch to piece together the facts of the woman's visa processing - in particular, what was declared on her application form and whether or not she appeared to Apia staff to be heavily pregnant," an Immigration NZ statement said.
Pacific Blue's website says pregnant women need medical clearance to board a flight if they'd had complications or were more than 36 weeks pregnant.
An Auckland International Airport spokeswoman said it was not known if crew or passengers had noticed the woman in labour.
TVNZ last night reported that Auckland Airport staff became suspicious when the woman, who had misplaced her passport, approached a staff member, looking pale and blood-stained.
She was later admitted to Middlemore Hospital - with the child. Police were understood to be at the hospital last night. They were waiting for the woman to recover from surgery before speaking to her. Both mother and child were said to be healthy.
Yesterday, a meeting was held with the New Zealand Samoan consul general, Fa'aolotoi Reupena Pogi, and staff at the consulate general.
Consul and trade commissioner Va'atu'itu'i Apete Meredith said the consulate had been in touch with Middlemore Hospital.
"We've tried to contact her, because that is our duty - to look out for the wellbeing of our citizens," Mr Meredith said.
"But at the same time, it's a police matter and we're waiting for the police to call us and then we'll be able to go visit her."
Mr Meredith said the consulate was in contact with Samoan authorities and a representative or group from the Samoan consulate is set to visit the woman in the next few days.
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: Beck Vass, NZPA