4 Dec 2021

Former Niue leader medevaced to NZ says Dr Tukuitonga

12:39 pm on 4 December 2021

A Pacific health leader in New Zealand has confirmed that former Niue Premier Young Vivian was medevaced to Aotearoa this week.

While the Auckland DHB and the Health Ministry did not want to confirm whether Mr Vivian was in the country, Niue community leaders in Aotearoa say the 86-year-old is.

Niuean Doctor Colin Tukuitonga of Auckland University said he's surprised the DHB is not able to assist media enquiries from RNZ Pacific.

"Oh he's here, definitely here. Medevac means that he's pretty sick. It all goes to a district health board and I suspect most likely Middlemore, Middlemore has an agreement to provide support for Niue.

"I think you've been given the runaround. They've been fobbing you off."

Media reports in Niue state Mr Vivian was admitted to the hospital in the capital Alofi earlier this week.

A file picture of Young Vivian

Former Niue Premier Young Vivian Photo: RNZ Pacific

A Health Ministry spokesperson said they do not disclose personal health information unless there is compelling public health reason to do so.

Dr Tukuitonga said the DHB could tell media the information it requested if the DHB wanted.

"Mr Vivian is either in one of the Auckland DHB hospitals.

"The ministry of health wouldn't be involved. They wouldn't have a clue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs might be able to help, given that he was a former premier and they may want to keep tabs on it," he said.

"I can tell you for sure Vivian is here because family have also been exchanging information on the Niue Facebook page that he was medevaced. I can confirm that. Beyond that I don't have any information."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggested RNZ Pacific contacts the Health Ministry.

"MFAT isn't always involved when people are medevaced to NZ, suggest you get in touch with the Ministry of Health," an MFAT spokesperson said.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga

Dr Colin Tukuitonga Photo: PMA

Radio 531pi Niue coordinator Faama Viliamu confirmed Vivian was medevaced to Auckland.

"All I know is that one of our former Premiers, Young Vivian, was medevaced from Niue this week and is at Auckland Hospital."

When contacted, Auckland Hospital staff said they could not release any information.

TV Niue reported the former premier was usually seen at large gatherings, but he was missing from the Alofi Ekalesia celebrations last weekend.

He was accompanied to New Zealand on Thursday by his son Reverend Vili Kamupala Viviani, the report stated.

"This will be the second medevac flight in two weeks.

"Last week, the air ambulance arrived to transport an injured 25-year-old to New Zealand accompanied by his parents.

"According to sources, his condition has improved," the TVNiue report stated.