Critically ill Niuean MP flown to New Zealand following medical emergency

The patient was evacuated from Niue earlier on Thursday.
The patient was evacuated from Niue earlier on Thursday. Photo credit: TV Niue

A critically ill Niuean MP has been flown to New Zealand at the request of its government.

They were flown by the Royal New Zealand Air Force on Thursday after a medical emergency prompted the evacuation.

According to TV Niue, the patient is MP Richard Hipa.

An ambulance met the Medevac flight upon arrival in Auckland and the patient was taken to Auckland City Hospital, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) says. The person does not have COVID-19.

"Crew on a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules, with an Air Ambulance NZ medical doctor and two NZDF medical personnel on board, have today conducted a medical evacuation from Niue," a NZDF spokesperson told Newshub.

"The aircraft landed this afternoon back at RNZAF Base Auckland, at 1:50 pm, where it was met by an ambulance and the patient was taken to hospital. The Government of Niue made the request for the medical evacuation."

The Ministry of Health says it was aware of the flight.

"Requests for medical treatment in New Zealand from overseas jurisdictions, particularly in the Pacific, are common," a ministry spokesperson told Newshub.

"Every request is considered, carefully taking into account factors such as the clinical needs of the patient, whether safe transport can be arranged and the availability of appropriate care in New Zealand."

People can travel from Niue to New Zealand without having to go into a managed isolation facility upon arrival.

It comes after a COVID-positive United Nations worker was flown from Fiji to Auckland for hospital treatment in late July.