Hope for family of sick woman

00:20, Jun 09 2014
Savitri Kumar, left, is leaving her husband Shiu, and their other three children to care for another daughter in Fiji, Arishma, who was denied a visitor's visa.

A New Plymouth Fijian-Indian family split apart by a government decision denying their sick daughter a visa have gained hope after a terminally ill woman was allowed to stay in New Zealand.

Archana Arishma Kumar, 20, who has an inoperable congenital heart condition, has been denied a visitor's visa, leaving her struggling to survive alone in the family home in Nadi, Fiji.

The rest of Arishma's family have New Zealand residency.

Two weeks ago her mother, Savitri Kumar, travelled to Fiji to look after her, leaving her husband, Shiu Kumar, and their three other children to care for themselves in New Plymouth.

However, last week Ahia Begam, 59, a Fijian living in Auckland with stage four metastatic breast cancer, was given residency allowing her to die with dignity among loved ones, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Associate Immigration Minister Nikki Kaye granted the residency after Begam had two residency visas and a work visa declined.


The Begam case has given the New Plymouth family hope in their longstanding fight to have Arishma join them.

In the meantime, Sanil Kumar, 30, and unrelated to the New Plymouth Kumars, died in Fiji last month after he was ordered to leave New Zealand while waiting for a kidney transplant.

The New Plymouth Kumars have now been in contact with Labour MP Dr Rajen Prasad, who has been supporting some of the families. Prasad has told the family he would look into their case for them.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Prasad said he would be speaking to the Kumar family this weekend.

Last week Prasad said Sanil Kumar's death was a tragedy. "I am particularly sad that New Zealand could not extend compassion to Sanil in his hour of need," he said.

"I can't see what would have been the harm to New Zealand if Sanil had been allowed to go through his procedure here."

Kumar's family had raised more than $120,000 of the $130,000 needed for a transplant through fundraisers, raffles and donations.

Meanwhile, Kaye says she has not received an application for residency from Arishma Kumar.

A spokesman for the minister said last month that she had declined to intervene in this case because an application from Kumar had already been declined by the previous associate minister of immigration.

"Minister Kaye will generally not accept requests for intervention in cases which have already been considered at a ministerial level in the preceding 12 months unless there is new information which would warrant further consideration."

Taranaki Daily News