An outpouring of support for a young widow's fight to return to her life in New Zealand and recover from her husband's drowning has "humbled" her family.
On January 14 Hemin Limbachiya, 26, drowned at Waimarama Beach after he and his wife, Tanvi Bhavsar, were caught in a flash rip and swept out to sea.
The Indian nationals had made New Zealand their home, living here for several years before moving to Napier in 2016.
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But after travelling back to India for her husband's cultural cremation last month, Ms Bhavsar now fears she will be barred from re-entering New Zealand.
As her visas were dependent on her husband's, she was told they were "null and void" after his death. Her residency application was about halfway through the process, and her work visa will expire in September.
The 27-year-old said if she was unable to enter New Zealand and return to the home she shared with her late husband, she would not be able to recover from his death.
"My biggest fear is due this unfortunate and unforeseen accident I will be barred to enter New Zealand," she said. "All my dreams of a better life and my real opportunity to be able to move on with life in light of this tragic accident will be shattered."
Her brother, Prashin Kumar, said they were appealing to the Government, and Immigration New Zealand to allow her to re-enter the country, and give her options to stay.
He said yesterday Immigration New Zealand told the family they would be reopening Ms Bhavsar's residency application, but that her work visa – which was in partnership with her husband's – was still closed.
"We appreciate they are keeping her residency file open," her brother said. "But we need to question why the work visa is closed. Why can't there be an exception made that she can actually re-enter the country, because that is really important for her rehabilitation?
"With her work visa invalid, we have to look at temporary ways of getting her back into the country so she can get her residency."
He pointed to a similar case earlier this year where an Indian widow, Nishat Abedi, and her son were allowed to remain in New Zealand after her husband, Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed, was killed in a car crash.
At the time, NZME reported she would be able to return to New Zealand while her work visa was valid and could apply for a new visa before her current visa expired.
An Immigration NZ spokesman said as Ms Bhavsar held a work visa as a secondary applicant under partnership she needs to apply for another visa in her own right to re-enter New Zealand.
On Wednesday Immigration NZ confirmed Ms Bhavsar was granted a 12 months' work visa under partnership. It could not confirm yet whether she would be able to re-enter the country.
Immigration NZ Area Manager Marcelle Foley said INZ "would like to offer its condolences to Tanvi Bhavsar for her loss".
"Following her partner's death INZ is endeavouring to contact Ms Bhavsar about her visa options".
Since her plea was made public there has been an outpouring of support for the young widow and her family.
"We feel very humbled by the support that the New Zealand population is offering us to fight the case for Tanvi, and for her visa application to come back into New Zealand," Mr Kumar said.
"This tragedy ... took one life, and now could destroy Tanvi's because she cannot come back to her home, she cannot move on with her life.
"No one could have ever foreseen this. We wish every day that January 14 had never happened. We can't take it back, but we can do this to turn things around for Tanvi."
Since moving here, Ms Bhasvar had worked, studied, and "invested in New Zealand".
She had studied at the Media Design School in Auckland, and dreamed of becoming an artisti, working in animation, and holding exhibitions of her painting.
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the minister did not comment on individual cases, and could not comment on this case until a decision had been made.
A spokeswoman for associate Immigration Minister Kris Fa'afoi said there was no current request for ministerial intervention.
Since the funeral, Ms Bhavsar had been living with her husband's family while in India and helping them through their grief.
- A Givealittle page was started for Tanvi Bhavsar to pay off the couple's debt incurred in their Indian cultural marriage last year.