Distressed family see Tangi’s body first time after death, three bodies to be buried tomorrow

    Brokenhearted relatives of Tevita Tangi who died in a boating tragedy on Saturday, bewailed his loss as his body was released to them this evening.

    They were told to bury it tomorrow.

    Tangi was one of four Tongan fishermen killed when the charter boat Francie capsized crossing the sandbar in Kaipara in New Zealand’s north island.

    They were among 11 men on board the Francie. Seven bodies have been recovered, but one is still missing.

    The family of Tangi and relatives of his friends Sunia ‘Ungo’unga and ‘Alipate Manumu’a were holding wakes for the men tonight before they are buried in Auckland tomorrow.

    The family of Fonua Taufa will hold prayer vigils for him tonight and continue until Sunday. His body will be flown to Tonga on Monday, a cousin confirmed today.

    manumua-and-ungounga
    Sunia ʻUngoʻunga and ʻAlipate Manumuʻa coffins. Photo/Sisilia Leone Manumuʻa

    Tevita’s brother Sione Tangi told Kaniva News they planned to hold his wake next Tuesday before burying him on Wednesday morning.

    He said family members from Tonga and overseas were expected to arrive for the funeral during the weekend.

    But this afternoon they were told by the authorities they could only see Tevita’s body this evening and that it had to be buried tomorrow.

    His ʻāpō (wake)  was being held at 3 Korma Ln, Panmure, Auckland.

    Sione said they rushed everything to make sure it was done before the failotu at 7pm.

    Peni Tangi, Tevita’s uncle, said his body would be buried at a cemetery in Remuera.

    He said a prayer service would be held at the Mormon church in Panmure at 10am tomorrow before the body was escorted to the cemetery.

    Tevita is survived by his wife and four children, Peni said.

    Sisilia Leone Manumu’a who goes by the name Takiama Manumu’a on Facebook, said the wake for Sunia and ‘Alipate’s bodies was being held tonight at the Tokaima’ananga Church at Otara Parish on 3 Ormiston Rd.

    The cousins would be buried at the Manukau Memorial Garden in Papatoetoe tomorrow morning.

    Search continues

    Police now think that Taulagi Afamasaga, 56, may still be on the boat after the formal search and rescue operation was suspended at midday yesterday.

    In a statement released to media today, Inspector Mark Fergus of Waitemata Police said the search for Francie was still going on.

    “Police, along with Coastguard and the Navy, are out on the water today in the area where the boat is believed to have capsized,” Inspector Fergus said.

    “Specialist search equipment belonging to the Navy is being used in the search. This is a slow and meticulous process.

    “We have met with the family of Mr Afamasaga this morning to discuss what the search involves. We can confirm that it is possible that their loved one is still on board the vessel.

    “In the event that the boat is found, the Afamasaga family will be informed first before Police release any details publicly. Police specialists will then assess options to search the wreckage, which may involve Police divers or video.

    “This will however require a risk assessment. The area is notoriously dangerous and will be dependent on the sea conditions, tides and currents”.

    The main points

    • Brokenhearted relatives of Tevita Tangi, who died in a boating tragedy on Saturday, bewailed his loss as his body was released to them this evening.
    • Tangi was one of four Tongan fishermen killed when the charter boat Francie capsized crossing the sandbar in Kaipara in New Zealand’s north island.
    • They were among 11 men on board the Francie. Seven bodies have been recovered, but one is still missing.
    • The family of Tangi and relatives of his friends Soane ‘Ungo’unga and ‘Alipate Manumu’a were holding wakes for the men tonight before they are buried in Auckland tomorrow.

    For more information

    Family reunion colours change to black as plans are made to fly Tāufa’s body home to Tonga

     

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