In a strong show of support, spiritual leaders, social media users, former high school and compassionate individuals have prayed for the Tongan Mixed Martial Art (MMA) fighter who is on life support in Auckland hospital.
Many wrote and shared their prayers and encouragements on Facebook including Kaniva News’ Facebook posts’ comment sections.
Some even sent their prayers by email to us before we published them under stories we have published about the victim, Liufau Vake.
As Kaniva News reported on Monday, the family have asked for prayers for Vake. The response has been huge.
Some have quoted texts from the Holy Bible including Psalm 27 :1- 2 which says: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall”.
In a post on social media, West Auckland’s Kelston Boys’ High School called on the school community to remember the former student and his family in prayer.
Vake’s mother has asked doctors that he be kept on life support as they pray for a miracle, his maternal aunt told us.
City Kickboxing head coach and friend, Eugene Bareman, told the AM Show the situation was “pretty dire” and that doctors had been gracious enough to tell it like it is.
“He’s hanging on by a thread. So yeah, we’re praying for a miracle. That’s what we need at this stage.”
Vake, 25, was rushed to hospital following an attack at Auckland central on Sunday morning.
The father of one had been on his way home when the incident happened on Symonds St just before 3am.
It is alleged Vake fell after being hit from behind.
Police and St John emergency services were called to the area, near the intersections of Khyber Pass Rd and Newton Rd in Eden Terrace, at 2.55am.
Two people were initially taken into custody.
However, police later charged a total of four men who appeared in the Auckland District Court on Monday.
Three of the men charged in relation to the incident are 29.
One is charged with common assault, another is charged with two counts of assaulting with intent to injure, while the other is charged with wounding with intent and injuring with intent.
The fourth man is a 32-year-old who has been charged with common assault.
Police said inquiries are continuing into the circumstances of the incident.
However, they are not looking for anyone else in relation to it.
Vake’s death came amid fresh demands for tougher laws to tackle coward punches.
UFC middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya, who is Vake’s main training partner, is calling for more serious consequences for “coward punchers”.
Adesanya, who himself had his jaw broken in 2012 when hit from behind, wants to bring attention to the lack of legal recognition of the seriousness of the “coward punch”.
“I am distraught. My gym brother may die because of the gutless actions of these men.
“In the past decade there have been numerous deaths from punches thrown when people are not looking. Given the massive publicity these crimes have received, no one is dumb enough to think there is not a serious risk of death. There is no excuse, it should be considered attempted murder or murder.”
City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman can’t understand why the issue has not been addressed sooner.
“The Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria all introduced coward punch laws in 2014.
“In 2018, the New Zealand parliament rejected a bill in its first reading to create a coward punch offence with a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment. This means there is absolutely no deterrent in place to make people think twice about this type of attack. “It’s sad to see Australia so far ahead of us in dealing with these evil acts. If New Zealand law doesn’t allow for a more serious penalty, we should all be pushing for it.”