Deported South African mother fighting to return to New Zealand to get her teenage son

A South African mother is fighting to return to New Zealand to be with her teenage son and care for his dying grandmother.

Rhonda Arumugam followed her family to New Zealand in 2003 with her then one-year-old daughter, Willow, before falling in love with a local man soon after. 

A year later, the now 36-year-old and her husband Timothy Edwards had a son, Cail, only for the young parents to divorce in 2006.

However, in 2011 Ms Arumugam was deported back to South Africa when her working visa expired after failing to lodge a new visa application.

Rhonda Arumugam (pictured) is fighting to get back to New Zealand to see her son and sick mother 

The mother told Daily Mail Australia her then 12-year-old son was racially attacked and was forced to send him back to New Zealand last year to live with her mother – who is now fighting a number of cancers.

The 36-year-old, who has since remarried and has another son four-year-old Cayden, said Cail suffered ‘racial disputes, xenophobia and random acts of violence’ when he was in South Africa.

‘In South Africa we were having daily killings based on xenophobia, the school were so terrified for the foreigners safety they were sent home,’ Ms Arumungam said.

‘(Cail) was repeatedly assaulted – race issues remain rife here – robbed and the final straw came when the South African Police strip searched him in the street. A 12-year-old … he came home crying that day and asked to go home.’

The mother said she then made the heartbreaking decision to send him across the globe to be with his grandmother. 

‘I’ve never cried so much in my whole life, each morning I wake to a hole in my heart,’ she said. 

Cail Edwards, 13, (left) and his grandmother Dawn Howard (right) in New Plymouth.

Cail Edwards, 13, (left) and his grandmother Dawn Howard (right) in New Plymouth.

‘I have not seen my family since 2011 … I am in South Africa without any living relatives.’

Now the mother-of-three has to first refund the deportation costs before being allowed back in the country to care for her extremely ill mother.

‘I am then faced with the hurdle of still not falling under an acceptable category,’ she said.

‘I was a tax paying, working resident of New Zealand and right now my mum is on sickness and battling to care for (Cail) financially.

‘My mum’s health has taken a rapid decline, she has an inoperable brain tumour, suspected bowel cancer and fibromyalgia.’  

Ms Arumugam is determined to reunite her family and get back into New Zealand 

Ms Arumugam is determined to reunite her family and get back into New Zealand 

Ms Arumugam told Daily Mail Australia she was ‘removed from New Zealand after years and years of fighting immigration to remain because my profession as a caregiver is no longer considered a skill.’ 

Ms Arumugam has now taken the fight straight to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, writing him a desperate letter explaining their families circumstance. 

She says she wants an assurance from the minister before putting in an application again. 

She has been told by the associate ministers office that she should not expect the minister to personally consider her request. 

Ms Arumugam has vowed to reunite her family, saying the separation is already taking too great a toll. 

‘He sends me messages saying every moment of every day he misses me, sends me the lyrics to lullabies I used to sing him, I just cry,’ she said.