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Coast Kiwi’s desperate attempt to be at 6yo grandson’s funeral

 

A GRIEF-stricken Gold Coast grandmother stuck in hotel quarantine in New Zealand is anxiously waiting to hear if she can attend the Friday funeral of her only grandchild who died tragically on January 1.

Va Tuala, of Pacific Pines, learned on New Year's Day that her beloved Myka Tuala died in a head-on car crash in the North Island, just a month short of his 7th birthday. He was the country's first road fatality of 2021.

"When my son told me to go home from a barbecue because he had some bad news I ran through every scenario in my head, but not for one second did I think something would happen to my darling Myka," said the 53-year-old.

Six-year-old Myka Tuala was the first road fatality of 2021 in New Zealand. His grandmother Va Tuala, pictured pushing him on the swing during a visit to the Gold Coast a few years ago – is in NZ hotel quarantine hoping to get to his funeral on January 15. Photo: Supplied
Six-year-old Myka Tuala was the first road fatality of 2021 in New Zealand. His grandmother Va Tuala, pictured pushing him on the swing during a visit to the Gold Coast a few years ago – is in NZ hotel quarantine hoping to get to his funeral on January 15. Photo: Supplied

"Not my grandson, my only grandchild. It's so devastating and so sad. He was so little and had so much life and potential head of him.

"Always with a smile on his face, he was such a lovely boy, so clever and full of laughter. He would laugh and the way he laughed would make you start laughing too. He also loved science, dinosaurs and constellations."

Myka, who was born on the Gold Coast, lived with this parents in Wellington but was on holiday in Northland, where he usually went for the school holidays, when he was killed.

The last time Mrs Tuala saw her grandson in person was in 2019 before COVID restrictions shut down borders.

She said she applied for an exemption from New Zealand's managed isolation on compassionate grounds but was refused. So she applied for a voucher through the managed isolation allocation system, an online portal for everyone travelling to New Zealand to secure a spot in hotel isolation, but found there were no entry vouchers available until March.

Gold Coast born New Zealander Myka Tuala, 6, was tragically killed in a head-on collision in Northland on January 1. His Pacific Pines grandmother has flown to NZ but may miss out on his funeral unless New Zealand authorities allow her and her family to leave hotel quarantine early. Photo: Supplied
Gold Coast born New Zealander Myka Tuala, 6, was tragically killed in a head-on collision in Northland on January 1. His Pacific Pines grandmother has flown to NZ but may miss out on his funeral unless New Zealand authorities allow her and her family to leave hotel quarantine early. Photo: Supplied

"But then a friend helped me get one by constantly refreshing the website until a spot became available because often those who have vouchers can't travel for whatever reason and their spots become available - but you only have just a few minutes to get them," she said.

"It was really stressful and frustrating, but eventually we got a voucher."

Despite only being in quarantine since January 8, Mrs Tuala, her daughter and Myka's grandfather have applied for an early discharge to attend Myka's funeral in Wellington on January 15.

"We hope that because there's no community transmission on the Gold Coast, we have returned negative COVID tests and we took every precaution not to leave our house since we found out about Myka, except to get a medical certificate for my work, that we'll be allowed out," she said.

Mrs Tuala said the funeral was originally planned for after their isolation but her son and his wife were understandably "too overwhelmed" to delay the service of their only child.

 

Gold Coast grandmother Va Tuala with her only grandchild, Myka Tuala, 6, who tragically killed on a road accident on New Year’s Day in New Zealand. Photo: Supplied
Gold Coast grandmother Va Tuala with her only grandchild, Myka Tuala, 6, who tragically killed on a road accident on New Year’s Day in New Zealand. Photo: Supplied

With two sons in New Zealand and two children in Australia, Mrs Tuala said she had close ties to both countries and desperately hoped officials would grant her access to grieve with her son and daughter-in-law.

A friend of Mrs Tuala has set up a Go Fund Me account named RIP Mokopuna Myka Tuala.

Janice Aldridge said Mrs Tuala would likely be out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars once she paid for the cost of emergency flights, quarantine, travel expenses and the possibility she may have to quarantine in Queensland upon her return if the COVID situation changes.

"Any help the community can offer to help this nanny have some time with grieve her mokopuna would be much appreciated, your $5 is just as precious as another person's $100," she said.

 

emily.toxward@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Coast Kiwi's desperate attempt to be at 6yo grandson's funeral


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