UPDATED:The father of the 11-year-old boy killed when a bus carrying a Tongan school band crashed in south Gisborne has posted a heartbreaking tribute to him.
Sione Taumālolo was one of two passengers killed in the incident.
The other fatality was Talita Moimoi Fifita, 33, a mother and wife who was looking after the group during their New Zealand tour.
The brass band had performed throughout New Zealand since they arrived in Auckland at the beginning of December to raise funds for the Mailefihi Siuʻilikutapu college’s 70th anniversary in 2017.
A total of 44 people were injured in the crash. The latest reports on Christmas Day said a 19-year-old boy and 65-year-old man had been discharged, while six others remained in a stable condition at Gisborne hospital.
The Tongan driver of the bus, Māsila, said the brakes failed. The group was travelling from Auckland to Gisborne to perform there.
He told Mediaworks the brakes suddenly gave way and the bus picked up speed. He tried to stop the vehicle, but it went off the road.
Fine’eva Taumālolo is understood to have been in Vavaʻu in Tonga when he received the devastating news of his son’s death.
“Uisa ko e pongipongi ne taʻeʻamanekina hanga ʻa e loto ke talitali ʻa e Pilinisi ʻo e Melino ka kuo ne polopolo ʻi hoku loto fale i he aho hono fakahifo…”, Sione’s father Fine’eva Taumalolo wrote in Tongan.
(Translated: Dreadful! This morning was unexpected, my heart was ready to welcome the Prince of Peace but He has taken the first fruit of the harvest inside my house in the day in which He was born.”)
“…pea heʻikai teu hanu pe launga he ko ia ʻoku pule aoniu ki heʻetau moʻui. Fakafetaʻi ki he ʻOtua ki he ui tangata oku ne fai pea tuku pe ʻene ʻofa ke ʻiate kitautolu he taimi kotoa. Sione kuo ke hola kae liʻaki mai au pea tuku pe ke u tangi he ko hoʻo ʻalu ʻikai toe foki mai. Ofa atu Sione”.
(Translated: I am not moaning or complaining as He is the Supreme Ruler over our lives. Thanks be to God for the call he has made. May His love be upon us from time to time. Sione you have run away leaving me behind and let me cry as you have gone and never come back. Love you Sione”.
Fine’eva’s cousin Mapa Taumalolo responded to the post, saying: “May God console you in this time of difficulty.:
The incident has hit Vavaʻu and Free Wesleyan Church communities around the world hard.
Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu college belongs to the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.
Many on social media have called on the College’s alumni in Auckland to help facilitate the works already in place to bring the victims back to Auckland quickly.
They said most of the alumni were in Auckland.
ʻApakasi Mele Taufa, who identified himself on Facebook as a person who studied at Tupou College, a brother college of Mailefihi Siuʻilikutapu, called on all Vavaʻuans to pray to God for the victims.
He said the Auckland alumni should ask if the victims could be transferred to Auckland hospitals.
Fifita was described as “taʻahine angalelei” (Translation: A girl of good character).
A Tongan who goes by the name Litia Felemi Fifita on Facebook sent her love and sympathy for Talita’s husband and their only daughter.
“while everyone is enjoying this christmas [sic] and festive season … we lost a loved one in a tragic accident …with a heavy heart and no proper word to comford [sic] the widow and their only child all we can do now is praying for the lords comfort and strength for my brother inlaw the husband (Suliasi Talia’uli Fifita) of our beloved sister in law Talita Kiumi Moimoi Fifita … may you rest in peace dear sister …. gone but never forgotten … “ Litia wrote.
The main points
- The father of the 12-year-old boy killed when a bus carrying a Tongan school band crashed in south Gisborne has posted a heartbreaking tribute to him.
- Sione Taumālolo’s was one of two passengers killed in the incident.
- Sione’s father, Fine’eva, wrote on Facebook: “Uisa ko e pongipongi ne taʻeʻamanekina hanga ʻa e loto ke talitali ʻa e Pilinisi ʻo e Melino ka kuo ne polopolo ʻi hoku loto fale”.
- (Translated: Dreadful! This morning was unexpected, my heart was ready to welcome the Prince of Peace but He has taken the first fruit of the harvest inside my house in the day in which He was born.”)