Doug Murcott’s life is in limbo.
The former junior All Black lived in Australia for more than a decade but was deported in April after visiting his mother in Invercargill.
Because of his criminal past, Mr Murcott (58) was detained at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre for 30 hours after returning to Sydney.
He was then put back on a plane to New Zealand, where he has been trying to work out what to do.
‘‘It was a huge shock,’’ the former heroin addict, who is living in Timaru, said.
‘‘I am clean and haven’t had a conviction since 2005 [imprisoned for using a false passport].’’
Mr Murcott’s past includes a series of drug convictions and he said he could not remember how long he had spent in jail throughout the years.
Tighter conditions, introduced in 2014 by the Australian Government, allow authorities to deport suspected, or convicted, criminals.
Figures supplied by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection show that of the 36.76 million passengers who arrived in Australia from January 2014 to January 2015, 366 were refused immigration clearance at the airport.
Mr Murcott played for the junior All Blacks for six games, from the age of 21 to 23, and in his 30s represented Southland in a game against France. He has also coached several rugby teams in New Zealand and Australia.
Mr Murcott has left behind his fiancee of nine years, Sally Tolliday, who has set up a petition in Australia to bring her partner home.
Miss Tolliday (56) relies on Mr Murcott because she is a disabled support pensioner who suffers from multiple medical conditions, including post traumatic stress disorder. ‘‘The effect of Doug’s deportation on me means that I am still in a state of suspended limbo,’’ Miss Tolliday said.
‘‘Normal life has ceased.’’
She has spent hours trying to forge a plan to get the decision reversed.
‘‘My efforts have all been in vain.’’
She acknowledged her partner’s New Zealand Facebook contacts who rallied to assist him when he was deported to New Zealand.
‘‘It isstill like a bad dream,’’ Miss Tolliday said, speaking from Australia.
‘‘Although neighbours and friends are helping me, I have stopped two of my part-time jobs, because they are just too difficult for me without having Doug to support me at home.’’
The pair have also discussed the possibility of Miss Tolliday moving to New Zealand.
‘‘I feel somewhat torn about moving, because I would be leaving my only son, Rhys, here in Australia. However, he is a young adult who lives with his girlfriend and doesn’t needme as much as Doug does at this time.’’
She said she also needed to establish whether she could continue to receive her Australian pension in New Zealand.
Mr Murcott said his life was in limbo as he tried to work out his next step.
‘‘I don’t know what to do next.’’
A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection said, generally, New Zealand citizens travelling on New Zealand passports were eligible for the grant of a Special Category Visa (SCV) on arrival, provided they satisfied criteria, including health and character.
‘‘A New Zealand citizen who has been convicted of one or more crimes that resulted in sentences of imprisonment that add up to 12 months or more may not be eligible for the grant of an SCV,’’ the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said the department would not comment on individual cases.
New Zealand Immigration said it was unable to comment on the matter.
Doug Murcott’s life is in limbo.