A Kiwi father of two toddlers who has spent the past four days in an Australian detention centre says he was given no explanation of why he could not enter the country.

Ian Wallace flew to Sydney on Friday afternoon and was stopped at Customs for a random bag search that he says evolved into a five-hour interrogation.

Wallace told the Herald nothing was found in the search but said Customs officers uncovered he had friends in gangs when they went through his Facebook page.

He admitted he failed to mention a drink-driving conviction on his arrival card but said the conviction was seven years ago and the 25-year-old and he had travelled to Sydney four times in the last two years without any problems.


"I have a lot of tattoos and they've never stopped me before so I thought it was a bit weird.

"I showed them I have no gang tattoos and told them I'm not in a gang ... I didn't know what was going on," he told the Herald.

Wallace will have spent four nights at the facility before he's sent home. Photo / Supplied
Wallace will have spent four nights at the facility before he's sent home. Photo / Supplied

After apologising for the mistake he made on the arrival card, he was surprised when Customs went through his Facebook and denied him access based on his friends.

"They printed out all of these photos and had a red line around each one of my mates that are in gangs.

"Half of them I haven't met, they're just on my friends' list," Wallace said.

Wallace was finally told this afternoon he would be sent back to New Zealand tomorrow, having only received one phone call since he was detained.

Wallace and his partner were flying to Sydney to see family but now his partner would have to fly home with the children, aged three and two, by herself on Saturday.

Wallace spent the weekend in a room with a kitchen, a bedroom and a small lounge with a television which was stuck on a single station.

He said he was ecstatic when told he would be getting out of the detention centre although the entire experience had been horrible.

"It was a headache, man. I had no idea when I was going home - I didn't know if I was going to be here for a day or a week.

"I got told not too long ago that they booked me for a flight. I thought it would have been a lot faster than that," he said.

A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesman said entry into another country was at the discretion of the border authorities of that country.

The New Zealand Government cannot intervene in any decisions made by those authorities, he said.

"In this case, MFAT was not approached for consular assistance."

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has been contacted for comment.