TODAY |

Portuguese tourist gifted free flight to NZ after immigration debacle

Immigration New Zealand has back-tracked on a decision officials made to send a Portuguese tourist home.

Mario Quintela was due to arrive in New Zealand shortly after Christmas for a three month holiday.  

Mario Quintela was coming for a holiday and doesn’t require a visa to enter NZ for less than three months. Source: 1 NEWS

However, when he arrived, Immigration NZ officials grilled him for 10 hours - and sent him on the next flight home.

Despite Mr Quintela having a return ticket, money, medical insurance and details of his accommodation in New Zealand, officials at the border deemed "his intentions were not genuine".

Mr Quintela's close friends, Pam Jones and Nuno Vilela have spent the past month communicating with Immigration NZ officials, who have finally issued a visa and organised a free flight for the beleaguered tourist.

A visa waiver between New Zealand and Portugal means Portuguese citizens are not required to apply for a visitor visa before they leave their country.  

By rights, they can simply fill in an arrival card when they arrive. 

Mr Quintela will arrive in just over a week.