Family ‘thrilled’ to be a step closer to seeing injured son after being given border exception

Parents of a UK man fighting for his life after an assault in a North Shore bar have spoken of their relief that they will hopefully fly into New Zealand soon – and have revealed they have told their son of their pending arrival as he remains in a coma.

Josh Storer suffered serious injuries at The Albany bar and restaurant on Friday night.

He is in intensive care after two brain surgeries.

The 25-year-old’s parents Ian and Dawn said a friend held a phone to their son’s ear at his hospital bed so they could tell him the news.

“We’ve told him that we’re on our way,” Dawn said.

Ian said: “Obviously we don’t know whether he hears anything in a coma, but at least we’ve actually said to him ‘just hold on there, Josh, we’re on our way’.”

The family – Dawn, Ian and sister Sian – were exhausted, but “absolutely thrilled to bits” to be granted the exception.

“We’re really looking forward to being able to get on a plane and see Josh,” Dawn said.

“I can’t really explain how we feel, it’s amazing, we’re so grateful for everything everybody has done.”

An Immigration NZ spokesperson said the family’s circumstances met the”high threshold” to be granted a border exception and they could apply for a Critical Purpose visitor visa.

The family was completing the visa paperwork tonight when the Herald spoke to them.

They would then need to receive negative Covid-19 test results, book flights and enter MIQ in New Zealand.

Dawn said although wouldn’t be getting on the plane in the next couple of days – they were “massively one step closer” to seeing their son.

The family had been told their visa application would be fast-tracked, Ian said.

“We would like to thank everyone in New Zealand and in the UK for all their support and help. Everybody has been fantastic and it’s been quite overwhelming.”

New Zealand’s border restrictions are in place for all travellers, bar New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, those travelling from a quarantine-free location or people who had been granted a border exemption.

It was too early to tell what Storer’s future would look like, as doctors have to wait for the swelling in his brain to go down.

The family had a Zoom call with one of Storer’s doctors who presented the family with the cruel but “blatantly honest” reality they face.

There were three scenarios.

“One, he won’t survive,” his father said.

“Two, he could survive but with damage. And three, he could survive and almost return, maybe, to normal.”

A 56-year-old man has been arrested and charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He is due to appear in the North Shore District Court tomorrow.

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