The eldest brother of a man who was allegedly murdered during stabbing incidents in Blenheim, New Zealand has recalled the day he received the news.
Hiko Junior Lynch, 23, was allegedly stabbed on Market St just after 3am on Sunday 20.
Police said the altercation was between Rebels gang members, from outside Marlborough, and Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers.
The deceased eldest brother Māteni Lynch said this evening the news of his young brother’s death was too much to bear.
“It was so difficult for me when I am thinking about the reason of why we came here to New Zealand to work to help our family back in Tonga”, Mateni said tearfully.
He was speaking as part of a night of prayer and tributes organised by his maternal family this evening in Ōtara.
Māteni said they have seven siblings and Hiko was of a “special character”.
Māteni was emotional and said “it was today last week I received the shocking news”.
Some young members of the family took the microphone and said they did not know how to express their love for Hiko in words, but they wanted to speak as long as they can say something to honour him.
“I am not really familiar with Hiko but I feel our relationship in my blood (“ongo e toto)”, a cousin said.
Māteni and Hiko’s maternal uncle Uilou Fungavaka who conducted the prayer service told the family Hiko’s death has united them.
A woman who identified herself as ‘Amelia Pasina Lavaki said she was from the paternal side. She said some people wanted to know why do the paternal family have the English surname Lynch.
She said an Irish man named James Michael Lynch married a Tongan woman in Vava’u and they were their great grandparents.
Rev Talanoa Afu said the grieving family should accept the fact that Hiko has been called by the heavenly father. He shared a chapter from the scripture which was written by prophet Joel of ancient Israel before he told listeners there was a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Hiko was out celebrating a friend’s birthday when he was allegedly fatally stabbed in central Blenheim. Two men from outside the region have been jointly charged with murder.
Two men who survived the alleged knife attack that killed their friend Hiko at the weekend have been released from hospital.
Hiko and Māteni had been working in the horticulture and viticulture industries through the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, set up in 2007 to help New Zealand employers hire workers from overseas when they were unable to employ enough Kiwis.
Māteni was not with Hiko when he was allegedly killed and they had been working for two separate companies.
Hiko worked for Hortus company. The company has set up a Givealittle page which has had more than $14,000 in donations for Lynch’s family by Sunday 27.
Hiko had been in New Zealand since 2019 working in the horticulture and viticulture industries. He hadn’t been able to return home between seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic.
His body arrived in Auckland from Christchurch on Friday and the paternal and maternal families were taking turns hosting the prayer evenings since then before his body will be flown back to Tonga on Wednesday.