Worker from Vanuatu dies in MIQ in Auckland just hours after arriving in NZ

Author
Vaimoana Tapaleao, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Feb 2021, 2:06PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Worker from Vanuatu dies in MIQ in Auckland just hours after arriving in NZ

Author
Vaimoana Tapaleao, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Feb 2021, 2:06PM

A man who died at an Auckland managed isolation facility last night had just touched down in the country hours earlier.

Emergency services were called to the Crowne Plaza, in downtown Auckland, about 7.30pm after reports of an incident.

A managed isolation and quarantine spokeswoman confirmed emergency services were called to the MIQ facility about 7.30pm to attend a fatal medical event.

The death is not related to Covid-19, she said.

"Our thoughts are with the deceased's family and friends at this difficult time," the spokesperson said.

Vanuatu consul-general in Auckland, Consul General McKenzie Kalotiti, said the man was one of 150 men linked to the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme who had arrived in Auckland yesterday afternoon.

"They just came yesterday and at about 8 o'clock, the [group] manager rang me last night to say someone had died.

"He's collapsed there and they pronounced him dead on the spot."

Kalotiti said the 44-year-old victim's family had since been told of the tragedy and extra support calls were being made to those inside the managed isolation facility still.

"The employer, for starters, is really shocked and we are all sad about this.

"We can't predict what happens - it's his first day back in New Zealand and he's died. Such is life."

This is the second death in MIQ in under two months.

In late December, Reverend Samata Iusitini Leiloa died at the Millennium Hotel in downtown Auckland.

The 63-year-old had arrived from Samoa on Christmas Day and had been carrying out his 14-day managed isolation when he died of natural causes.

His death was referred to the coroner.

Leiloa gained his qualification at Malua Theological College. He is survived by his wife, brother, three sisters and a large extended family.

Hundreds of people posted messages of support for the family on Bakulich's Facebook page.

One person described him as a "jovial soul and character always remembered". Another said they would miss "his encouraging messages and sense of humour".

To date, 106,195 people have gone through managed isolation and quarantine facilities across New Zealand since March 26 last year.

There are currently 5584 people currently housed in 32 hotels-turned-government-facilities in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch.