Back together at last

Published date11 August 2022
Publication titleKatikati Advertiser
That’s how long Mahesh and Surangi Peters thought they’d be apart when Mahesh waved goodbye in Dubai in early 2020 to start a new life for his family in New Zealand

Surangi (Silva), and their children Clara, 7, and Elisha, 11, were to follow two weeks later ... but it would be two and half years before they’d all see each other again.

Now the family is finally reunited. They had a tearful reunion with Mahesh at Auckland Airport early last month.

It’s been a long struggle for the family who were separated, countries apart, when the Government enforced the first lockdown of 2020.

The international award-winning chef had accepted the role of Talisman Hotel and Restaurant’s head chef prior and a visa application was submitted for him followed by a family visa application.

He left Dubai, where they’d lived and worked for 15 years.

The plan was for Silva and the girls to return to Sri Lanka and join Mahesh soon after.

“But our visa kept delaying,” Silva says, “and so he left on February 28 and we decided to stay with his mum for two weeks ... and it went on to two and a half years.

“We’ve never had a situation like this before, we’ve been married for almost 13 years now and he’s only ever travelled for 10 days.’

“We fully expected it to be weeks,” Mahesh says.

One month later the Covid-19 pandemic struck New Zealand and the Government closed the borders and Immigration New Zealand took a tough stance on letting people into the country for work.

It was a devastating blow for the family, who never expected it, and were further frustrated when more applications to enter New Zealand also failed.

“We tried exemptions and other ways...

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