Family, kāinga and friends gathered in south Auckland to mourn the death of a 20-year-old man who was killed in a car crash in Tonga.
The afternoon prayer vigil was for Sione Uikilifi Jr Lapu’aho of Vaini who was the passenger in a car which crashed into a power pole at Malapo near Hu’atolitoli Prison last Sunday July 4.
The driver, a 25-year-old man from Vaini has been charged with reckless driving causing death.
Police said initial indications are that speeding and alcohol were factors in this fatality. Police also found what appears to be methamphetamine on the driver.
The Papatoetoe gathering for the family in New Zealand was to allow the kāinga and friends to share their sweet memories of the deceased, a notice said on Facebook.
The victim’s father, Sione Senior, is currently in New Zealand and he attended today’s prayer vigil which was livestreamed on Facebook.
Sione Snr was emotional and said he never punished his son.
He told mourners he wanted to send his love to him.
“Most of you here have already known that I am the father of this boy,” he said.
He said he was the only son and eldest in his siblings.