Tongan mum of nine gets life-saving surgery removing facial tumour in NZ
Vea Koloa is a 36-year-old mum of nine, with a facial tumour as big as her head.
Unable to get the treatment she needed in her native Tonga, Vea came to New Zealand for life-changing surgery, thanks in part to the generosity of Kiwi surgeons who offered to remove it for free.
Sunday is behind the scenes for this extraordinary operation and for when Vea sees her new face for the very first time.
New Zealand moved into lockdown just a week after her surgery and while she initially thought she might be able to go home in October, Covid disrupted travel between New Zealand and Tonga. Vea’s repatriation has now been delayed four times.
With ongoing community transmission in New Zealand, the Tongan government made the call to postpone all repatriation flights until next year.
Vea is now pinning her hopes on a fifth date, in January.
Vea being in New Zealand has been particularly hard on her nine children who are waiting at home for her in Tonga - the youngest, Lianta, is just four years old.
Read the full update here
Vea is in need of on-going care. Her friends have set up a Give a Little page for people who would like to donate to help her.
Click here to donate to Vea Koloa's ongoing treatment.