The man who took the Government to court and won the right to leave mandatory isolation to visit his dying father has now been forced to replan the funeral.

Having arrived in New Zealand from the United Kingdom on April 23, Oliver Christiansen applied for an exemption from managed isolation - based on compassionate grounds - so he could see his father for the last time.

The Ministry of Health, after first mistaking what was being asked for, repeatedly declined the application.

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Christiansen took the matter to the Auckland High Court, where he won the case sparking a review of applications just like his.

So far eight of 32 similar declined applications have been overturned upon review, according to the Ministry of Health.

Yesterday, the Christiansen family bubble together watched the Prime Minister's 4pm announcement - only to be dealt another blow.

Despite information on the Government's Covid-19 website that stated at alert level 2 up to 100 people could attend a funeral, Jacinda Ardern announced only 10 people were to be permitted.

It prompted more tears for the grieving family who planned for many more to attend the service.

"It's excruciating. Our family were in a state of shock yesterday," Christiansen told the Herald.

"We keep getting knocked back at such a sensitive time.

"We feel like we have been through enough already."


The family had spent a week planning the funeral service for Anthony Christiansen, a retired associate High Court judge. That has now been cancelled.

In its place they are now organising a different service that only 10 people will attend.

Funerals, unlike happier occasions like weddings, cannot be delayed, Christiansen said.

"Down the track we are going to have dig deep again emotionally to plan another memorial, we don't even know when that will be yet," he said.

"It doesn't allow closure."

Christiansen knows by the time a larger memorial service can be held, he will have returned to his young family in London. A prospect he can not bear thinking about, he said.


His dad lived a full life and deserved a memorial in which friends, family and colleagues from the legal profession could all pay their respects, he added.

"Apart from his family, the law was his life."

There should be more than pallbearers and immediate family there, he said.

Christiansen also knows speaking out will not change things in time for his family but hopes his actions could again help others.

He feels that for families like his the Government's "unreliable" decision-making will be "suspending their grief" at the worst time.

"I hope there is pressure put on them to reassess and to show a bit more respect for grieving families, with a real sense of urgency."

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Ardern's announcement yesterday that gatherings would be limited to 10 people, even for weddings or funerals, will be reviewed in two weeks.

During the briefing she said a 10-person limit was given "hard consideration" in light of the difficulties people have had with funerals and tangi, but it took public safety into account.

Today she defended that stance, saying the Government had made the same tough calls for other gatherings where people came together such as weddings and birthdays.

"We know this is causing pain but we've equally tried to be consistent."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has completed the review of 32 applications made for an exemption from managed isolation on compassionate grounds that had previously been declined.

The original decision to decline those applications was changed for eight people.


They are now able to leave managed isolation and have an agreed self-isolation plan, the ministry said.

Two people had already finished managed isolation at the point the ministry began reviewing applications, while three applicants have requested that the ministry stop the review process.

For 14 people, the original decision to decline their application was upheld.

The ministry said it continues to work with the remaining five applicants. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website