Heartbreak for survivors and family, but band members vow to carry on

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    The survivors of Saturday’s bus crash in Gisborne will carry on the fund raising tour they began before the weekend’s disaster.

    Kaniva News understands they were offered the chance to fly back to Tonga on Saturday along with the bodies of Sione Taumālolo and Talita Moimoi Fifita,  but elected to stay.

    The deceased will be accompanied by a number of delegations, including one made up of Tongans living in New Zealand.

    The passengers on the bus were from the Mailefihi Siuʻilikutapu college brass band. They were raising money for the Tongan school’s 70th anniversary.

    The first group of survivors of the crash arrived in Auckland this morning (December 29) and is being looked after by the Vaine Mo’onia Church in Ponsonby.

    The group of 18 people will hold a vigil for the two people who died in the crash at the church tonight.

    Sione Taumalolo’s ta’ovala.

    Principal of Mailefihi Siuʻilikutapu college, Liuaki Fungalei, has just arrived in New Zealand from the United States and left for Gisborne to visit the injured in hospital. He is expected back in Auckland to night.

    Family and survivors continue to face heartbreak  as they try to come to terms with their loss.

    A video has emerged of a memorial service for Sione Taumalolo at the Free Wesleyan church in ‘Utui, Vava’u.

    Sione’s grief-stricken mother, Finau,  can be heard in the video giving thanks that parents were there with their children safe and sound.

    And a photograph has appeared showing Sione Taumālolo’s ta’ovala (matting worn around the waist) which was found among the personal belongings retrieved from the wreckage yesterday.

    The ta’ovala had his name printed on it and some people found it hard to hold back their tears when they saw it.

    A cousin of Sione Taumalolo, Mapa Taumalolo said the following video  was recorded at the FWC church in ‘Utui.

    The main points

    • The survivors of Saturday’s bus crash in Gisborne will carry on the fund raising tour they began before the weekend’s disaster.
    • Kaniva News understands they were offered the chance to fly back to Tonga on Saturday along with the bodies of Sione Taumālolo and Talita Moimoi Fifita, but elected to stay.
    • The first group of survivors of the crash arrived in Auckland this morning (December 29) and is being looked after by the Vaine Mo’onia Church in Ponsonby.
    • The group of 18 people will hold a vigil for the two people who died in the crash at the church tonight.

    For more information

    Gisborne bus wreckage retrieved as survivors prepare to play memorial concert tonight

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