Tunupopo, (18), missed last week’s flight after being held at Auckland International Airport, where he was allegedly detained, strip-searched, and interrogated by New Zealand Customs officials. He was relieved to touch down at home.
Yesterday, Tunupopo said he had no issues clearing customs in Auckland prior to boarding.
Thirty-three returnees stepped off Air New Zealand flight 946 from Auckland.
The atmosphere was quiet at Rarotonga International Airport, with the arrivals terminal filled almost entirely with health officers from Te Marae Ora and staff from Raro Tours to assist the returnees with transportation to their pre-arranged places of quarantine.
Also on the flight was a coffin that will continue to Mangaia for burial.
All returnees currently undergoing supervised quarantine will be facing tighter surveillance after this week’s confirmed quarantine breach and a rash of rumoured breaches, which have been described by officials as false.
Communities around Rarotonga have made a request for more visible signage, knowledge about where people are quarantined in their neighbourhoods and villages, and round the clock supervision of quarantine sites.
Health secretary Dr Josephine Aumea Herman said Te Marae Ora has been working with the public to alleviate concerns over the quarantine process.
“We are pleased to have found a way to safely return our people home,” she said.