Kiwi gathering 501 deportee stories in hikoi before suing Australian government

A Christchurch woman is spending the next month travelling New Zealand to meet with 501 deportees from Australia. 

The hikoi is another step in Filipa Payne's plan to take a class action lawsuit against the Australian government for the treatment of deportees and its hard-line immigration policy. 

Payne took a banner around Australia in 2015. Now she's travelling around New Zealand with it.

"To stop and meet with people that have been removed from Australia through deportation," the Route 501 Advocate founder said.

The hikoi starts in Christchurch and the first stop is Oamaru. By the time Payne reaches Auckland early next month, she will have met with up to 75 people in more than 20 different places. 

"It's going into their homes and spending time with them, staying with them, meeting their family and learning all about them; letting them know that I am standing with them, that I support them," Payne told Newshub.

It's a grassroots campaign garnering support for a class action lawsuit the group is planning to take against the Australian government.

"The ultimate goal is that we all stand together and be reunited, because we all need to stand strong if we're going to do this class action," she said.

Going along for the ride is Kiwi Tenamu, who was deported in March. 

"It's been a bumpy road; it's hard without my family."

Tenamu has spent more than half of his life in Australia, a portion of that on Christmas Island, where he was involved in riots protesting against the conditions. 

Here he copes by talking to his father in Australia on the phone each day, desperate to return home.

"To stand in front of my mum's grave site, that's my ultimate," said Tenamu. 

The hikoi is a form of hope.

"I 100 percent believe that we can win this class action. I wouldn't be taking this step if I didn't have faith that we could do it," Payne said.

Faith that will take her all over New Zealand for the next month.