Trev Ponting, New Zealand aged 46 lives in Japan, with his children Mia, aged 3, and son Toa, aged 18 months. Photo / Provided
Trev Ponting is likely to return to New Zealand on Thursday after MIQ overturned a decision that would leave a dying Kiwi stranded abroad.
Japan-based Ponting has end-stage brain cancer, and all he wants is to go home to see his mother. But initial applications for emergency shelter in managed isolation for the 46-year-old man, his wife Aiko and their two young children were rejected yesterday.
Just before 6pm tonight, the family learned that the decision had been overturned, Ponting’s joyful sister, Yvonne Ponting, told the Herald.
“I’m really relieved and overwhelmed and excited and scared. I don’t have enough words, I’m out of gratitude for everyone who supported us.”
She has spoken with her brother via video call, which she describes as “emotional”.
“He’s conscious but he needs a reminder because his short term memory is lost. But he knows he’s coming home.
“He said something like, ‘I’ve been told I’ll be home’ and we said, ‘Yes you, bro. Yeah you’.”
The initial decision against the family of four sparked pleas for help from the Christchurch-based Ponting family, especially after it emerged that children’s entertainment group The Wiggles was hastily given MIQ spots for their crew of 12 ahead of a nationwide tour.
Ponting, who has lived in Japan for 20 years, told them his last wish was “to be with his mother,” said Yvonne Ponting.
“He said to us: ‘I just want to be with my mother’.”
The race now is to get their spouses and children on a flight home as quickly as possible, which at this stage may be a Singapore Airlines flight departing on Wednesday and arriving in Auckland on Thursday, said Yvonne Ponting.
“He will fly to New Zealand today if we get him [the emergency MIQ spots] the first time. It caused a five-day delay, but now we have to get past that. “
The only disappointment was that the “team from Japan” helping the family couldn’t be in New Zealand either.
“They are extraordinary.”
He would like to thank everyone who has supported the family since Ponting’s plight was made public.
“This takes everyone’s effort.”
Ponting has lived in Japan for the last few years, where he works as a ski instructor.
In 2019, around Christmas time, he received the bad news that several tumors had been found in his brain.
He underwent surgery to remove the tumor and spent 72 days in hospital that year.
A long process of recovery awaited him and his family trying to move to New Zealand after a new tumor was discovered around September last year – but then of course the world has turned upside down because of Covid-19.
His doctor had now informed him that he would only have a few months to live.
Ponting’s heartbreaking story caused a violent backlash to the decision, with thousands of posters on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook calling on the Government and those running MIQ to overturn the previous decision.