Coming home: Flame chef Tom Hardes


A terminally-ill Queenstown chef stuck in Oz at last has a confirmed flight home, while a
Givealittle page has been set up to support him.

Flame chef Tom Hardes — who’s had brain and spinal cancer for five years — has been
stranded in Western Australia since September, when he’d been due back after escaping our colder weather for the sake of his health.

The 43-year-old then couldn’t get home due to Covid travel restrictions, and was refused an emergency managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) slot despite his oncologist saying it was urgent he get back to resume chemo, ‘‘without which his cancer will regrow’’.

Having been unable to return, he’s been burning through his savings on medication, physio and living costs — and paying rent in Queenstown.

Now Penny Gray, whose niece used to flat with Hardes and whose niece’s husband used to work with him, has started a Givealittle page — — to fund his cancer medication and pain relief.

Hardes will be among the first double-vaxxed Kiwis allowed back from Oz — he’s flying out January 17, then overnighting in Auckland before heading home.

Following a week’s self-isolation, he intends visiting his oncologist for tests and scans, and will get back on chemo ‘‘and what ever else needs doing’’.

He’s also hoping to return to work.

Fortunately, he’s been staying free of late on a goat farm in exchange for making meals and cakes.