Each day Wesley Jones fears for the safety of his wife and daughter, stuck in South Africa while he works in New Zealand.
Jones had turned to New Zealand to be able to provide his 9-year-old daughter, Amanda-Claire, with a better life.
But it's now been more than a year since he arrived - and his family remain in South Africa, unable to come here after the border closures in March.
"I love New Zealand, it's a great place to be and it's really where I want my kid to come and be free," says Wesley.
"But it's been tough without them."
Jones and his wife Bronwyn have made 24 visa applications to Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
All have been made under either the "partner of a student or work visa holder" criteria or the "humanitarian" criteria. All have been denied.
Jones entered the country on a visitor's visa in January and was then granted a work visa in February.
He works at Wilks Penny Motorcycles in Te Awamutu as a workshop coordinator and salesman – he was an essential worker during the lockdown.
A spokesperson for INZ says border restrictions have been set high to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
"All individual requests for an exception to the border restrictions are considered against the strict criteria as set out in immigration instructions."
"While INZ is empathetic to the situation those such as the Jones family find themselves in, INZ has no ability to apply discretion when considering requests for border exemptions."
Jones believes INZ are using the virus as an "excuse".
"It's a Covid problem for me and everybody else in the same boat as me but let's let movie stars in, let's let rugby stars and let's let fruit pickers in. How does that even work?" says Jones.
Immigration lawyer of Flair Migrate, Grant Michael Siebert, says he is "disturbed" by the number of border exemptions made to movie stars, sports people, public personalities and fruit pickers while families are not allowed to be reunited.
"This flies in the face of this Government's repeated statement to be kind," says Siebert.
Jones says the situation he and his family are in would be easier if INZ or immigration lawyers would give them a timeframe of when Bronwyn and Amanda-Claire will be able to join him here.
But not knowing is growing unbearable.
"I've already missed birthdays, anniversaries and I missed Christmas," says Jones.
"I can't expect my daughter to live without her father."
Christmas was the first time they have spent the holidays apart and, in their
24 years together, the longest Wesley and Bronwyn have been apart was six weeks.
Bronwyn and Amanda-Claire are in Cape Town living in a backpackers operated by Bronwyn's parents.
At every moment Jones fears for their safety.
"I don't feel safe for my wife and my daughter to go out. I fear that my wife will be raped or murdered or that my daughter will get stolen. Even in schools kids are getting raped – how can I send my daughter to a public school thinking she will be safe?"
The violence in South Africa, especially against women and girls, is alarming.
Unicef reports that one third of girls in South Africa experience some form of violence before the age of 18.
Official statistics published by the South African Police Service show there were 53,293 cases of sexual offences between April 2019 and March 2020.
Of these, 42,298 were rape, 7749 were sexual assault, 2706 were attempted sexual offences and 1179 were contact sexual offences.
During the same time period the statistic report also shows that there were 21,325 murders, 18,653 attempted murders, 166,720 cases of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and 165,494 cases of common assault.
Because of the violence, Jones says his daughter has not been able to live the life of a normal child.
"She can't go play at her friends, she can't go out into the streets and she can't go and ride her bicycle. She basically has to live inside and if we go anywhere than she needs to be with an adult at all times," says Wesley.
Amanda-Claire used to enjoy playing cricket and swimming but had to stop as safety concerns grew. She has now taken up gaming and crafting as she can do them from home.
Wesley and Bronwyn had a well-established life in South Africa that they gave up expecting to be able to come and live in New Zealand. He owned a motorcycle business and she owned a cattery and they owned a house.
Jones said he might soon have to return back to South Africa as INZ aren't able to give him a definite answer into when his wife and daughter can join him.
"If they keep saying we don't know than what's the point in hanging around, I can't hang on," says Jones.
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