It comes after Cook Islands placed a coronavirus-related travel ban on travellers from the Philippines and 15 other countries.
Serito was already airborne to Auckland, on his way back to his partner May and their young son in Rarotonga, when the ban was announced. He was travelling with another expat worker, Rodolfo Cadiz. The two work for Island Craft.
The duo, who held transit visas for New Zealand, were barred from boarding the plane to Rarotonga.
Serito said Island Craft came to their rescue and paid their return fare to Philippines.
“I miss my family, especially my son Mark who I haven’t seen for a month, and I miss my job too,” he said. “We are not sure how long it will take for the ban to be lifted. We thank our company Island Craft for paying the return ticket.”
Island Craft owner Fletcher Melvin said the two had been returning to Cook Islands after a six-week summer break.
“We paid for their return so it has cost us a lot of money now,” Melvin said. “And we don’t know what we will do without two of our workers, especially when there are a lot of orders to get through.”