League Test star’s son faces deportation

Roy Orchard (right) with family members
Roy Orchard (right) with family members

A FORMER Maroochydore Rugby League club "A" grader whose father was once one of New Zealand's most intimidating forwards is in detention on Christmas Island awaiting deportation.

Roy Orchard, 48, is a father and grandfather who has not seen New Zealand since he was five-years-old.

His father Robert, who represented New Zealand 18 times, moved to Queensland in 1973 to take up a contract as captain-coach of Redcliffe Rugby League Club.

In 1971 he starred in a New Zealand team which beat Australia once and both France and Great Britain twice.

Orchard senior went on to play two games for Queensland and also played in Mount Isa, Mackay and for Wynnum Manly in Brisbane.

Roy Orchard was two weeks short of release from the Maryborough Correctional Centre when he was informed his visa had been revoked and he no longer held resident status.

He was shifted to Christmas Island eight weeks ago where he has refused to accept repatriation to New Zealand.

In the past few days he has been ringing family members concerned about deteriorating conditions inside the detention centre where there is simmering tension between asylum seekers and former New Zealanders facing deportation.

On Monday one detainee made his way onto the roof of a building where he threatened to jump off.

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed the incident but denied the centre is in lock down.

The spokesman also denied there had been any transfer of prisoners from Manus Island to Christmas Island.

However Roy's sister Carolyn Sidaway of Coolum said her brother had told her by phone rows of tents had been set up at Christmas Island as additional accommodation.

Ms Sidaway said her brother could be an idiot but was not a hardened criminal.

She said helping an old Redcliffe mate collect a debt was responsible for him ending up in jail.

"He doesn't deserve to be there," Carolyn said of his transfer to Christmas Island.

"He should be at home getting his life in order."

Ms Sidaway said only one family member, an elderly uncle, remained in New Zealand with the rest relocating to Australia years ago.

Orchard senior arrived in Australia in 1973 with a family of six under six years of age.

"We were a mob of kids who grew up in Redcliffe," Ms Sidaway said.

"We've all paid our way and we've all worked. We can look after Roy and get him a job.

"We look after our own and always have."

Ms Sidaway said since arriving on Christmas Island her brother's weight had ballooned from 90kg to 110kg because there was nothing to do but eat.

"He should still be working here," she said. "He worked on the Hyatt, the Sheraton and on high-rise across the Coast. Roy's always worked and paid his taxes.

Roy's brothers Renee and Robert (junior) had successful careers in Australia and later in France where they also played rep rugby league for the Koalas, made up of Australian players competing in French and UK competitions.

As of March 31 this year there were 196 New Zealanders held in detention, including 181 males and 15 females, awaiting deportation.

Those who go voluntarily are provided an airline ticket, three weeks accommodation and $700.

Topics:  christmas island deportation detention new zealand refugees rugby league

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