Couple’s hopes for UK return after being stranded for more than a month in New Zealand

Vicki and Neil Coxage from Benhall near Saxmundham during happier times before being stranded in New

Vicki and Neil Coxage from Benhall near Saxmundham during happier times before being stranded in New Zealand for over a month. Picture: COURTESY OF VICKY AND NEIL COXAGE - Credit: Archant

A couple stranded for more than a month in New Zealand due to the coronavirus outbreak are finally hoping to make their way home.

The brown paper bag stuck to the British Consulate's office in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: COURT

The brown paper bag stuck to the British Consulate's office in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: COURTESY OF VICKY AND NEIL COXAGE - Credit: Archant

Neil Coxage, 61, a builder from Benhall, near Saxmundham, and his wife, Vicky, flew out on the trip of a lifetime costing £3,000 at the end of February but have been stuck in Auckland ever since.

After spending three days in Tokyo, the couple had intended to fly onto San Francisco after travelling to New Zealand but were told at the airport four days before that San Francisco was in lockdown and they wouldn’t be allowed in.

READ MORE: What will be different in Suffolk after coronavirus?

Mrs Coxage, 54, an administrator for a local import wholesaler, said: “We love travelling and have been on lots of long-haul holidays, New Zealand was on our list.

The couple had their flights cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/OW

The couple had their flights cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/OWEN HUMPHREYS - Credit: PA

“We had a brilliant three weeks exploring both the South and North islands in a campervan.”


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During a quiet stroll around Auckland the next day, Mr and Mrs Coxage heard the announcement that New Zealand had gone into full lockdown and after having their passports taken away and their flights cancelled by airport staff they were left wondering how they would get home.

• Join our Suffolk Coronavirus Updates group on Facebook for more informationMrs Coxage said: “Restaurants and shops were literally closing around us. We went to the British Consulate office the next morning where we met a lot of other Brits in the same position as us.“Flights out of the country were being cancelled left right and centre. “The Consulate office was closed, they had a handwritten sign stuck on the door. It was actually written on a brown paper bag.“It was all a bit daunting although we were worrying probably more about family at home including my 90-year-old dad and our three little grandsons.“They told us all we could do was keep an eye on the website to see what other flights might leave, if any. “Luckily for us, our nephew, his wife and two young children had moved out to Auckland two years ago and said we could stay with them. An absolute godsend.”Through a WhatsApp group set up by fellow passengers stuck in the same situation, the couple heard about a flight leaving on April 1 for Britain via Vancouver in Canada and paid out an extra £1600 for the tickets.Mrs Coxage continued: “We have also had to get a Canadian visitor Visa just to transit through the airport. Fingers crossed these flights will not be cancelled or the Canadian border hasn’t decided to close before we get there.”READ MORE: Regular updates on the coronavirus crisis across Suffolk and Essex

Mr and Mrs Coxage have been stranded in Auckland, New Zealand for over a month now but are due to fl

Mr and Mrs Coxage have been stranded in Auckland, New Zealand for over a month now but are due to fly home on April 1. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES - Credit: Archant

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