Immigration NZ in apology to Ngāpuhi whānau

By Te Ao - Māori News

Immigration NZ has made a U-turn in granting a medical visa to the Canadian husband of a Ngāpuhi mother-of-two.

Jimmy Lambert, who was denied entry to New Zealand because he suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), hasn't seen his two children since last year.

Now, the Whangārei family is making preparations for his return home.

His partner, Juanita Craig (Ngāpuhi, Ngātiwai, Ngāti Hau) shared her feelings with Te Ao Māori News.

“Elation. Disbelief. Just the tangitangi coming out and just giving each other high fives on the camera - just delighted,” she says.

Immigration NZ reviewed her plea to allow her husband in Aotearoa and reversed their decision.

“Jimmy's been given the medical waiver which I asked them to consider and they apologised for the fact that Jimmy should have been given the medical waiver back in June when I first asked for that,” says Craig.

In a statement to Te Ao, Assistant General Manager of Immigration NZ, Peter Elms said they have been in contact with Craig and apologised for the distress caused to her family.

Immigration NZ will also pay for all of Lambert's flights to return to New Zealand to his whānau.

However, Craig says she is aware that it is not her family alone that are dealing with multiple sclerosis and immigration issues in New Zealand.

“With people with MS, they have that kōrero in their heads that they're feeling like a burden on people around them and it's so hard for them to ask for the awhi and the tautoko.”

“Before any breakthrough, there's a huge breakdown. It's always darkest before dawn and so in that moment when you think there's no hope and you think that everything is lost just keep taking those steps forward.”