Deep and emotional respect for family at funeral of dengue victim

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(L-R) MP Aupito William Sio, Sebastina, 'Alavina and Sini Telefoni. Photo/Tuitui Folauhola (Facebook)

Toafei Telefoni , who died of dengue in Tonga last week, was buried at Manukau Memorial Gardens at midday yesterday.

She died in Vaiola hospital on January 24.

Her mother ‘Alavina’s first cousin, Tuitui Folauhola, told Kaniva News the family’s maternal side felt “deep and emotional respect” at the funeral.

“You can tell from the attendance and commitments of our brothers during the funeral the impact of Toafei’s death against our family and relatives,” Folauhola said.

Toafei was the only child of ‘Alavina and Sini and ‘Alavina was the only daughter of her parents.

Alavina and her son Sebastian, who is adopted, went to Tonga with Toafei for their Christmas holidays.

Alavina and Sebastian returned for work while her daughter stayed behind, intending to return to New Zealand later with her grandmother.

Alavina was later told Toafei was sick. It is understood she had returned from hospital after being told no cause of her illness could be identified.

However Alavina booked a ticket to Tonga to see her daughter after she was informed Toafei had returned to hospital and been admitted.

While ‘Alavina was preparing to leave she was told Toafei has died. Her husband Sini and Sebastian travelled with her to Tonga to bring back Toafei’s body.

Minister

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito Sio said today he had been moved by her death.

“It saddened me because parents should not have to bury their child,” Hon. Sio said.

“It should be the other way around.

“I was moved with emotion because I have children myself and I preside over an extended family with lots of young people the same age as Toafei.

“I can only imagine the heartache the family must feel, and the anguish that someone so young could be taken from them.”

The Minister confirmed reports that he had given a small personal gift to the girl’s parents.

“That isn’t important,” he said.

“What I think was important as the local MP for Mangere is I had the opportunity to attend the family service and I was accorded the privilege and honour to provide some words of comfort to the parents and the extended family.

“I simply wanted to offer my strength to comfort the parents Sini and Alavina Telefoni because as a parent myself I understand the suffering they’ve gone through.”

The main points

  • Toafei Telefoni , who died of dengue in Tonga last week, was buried at Manukau Memorial Gardens at midday yesterday.
  • She died in Vaiola hospital on January 24.
  • ‘Alavina’s first cousin, Tuitui Folauhola, told Kaniva News the family’s maternal side felt “deep and emotional respect” at the funeral.
  • “You can tell from the attendant and commitments of our brothers during the funeral the impact of Toafei’s death against our family and relatives,” Folahola said.

For more information

Dengue confirmed as cause of death of 12 year old girl, Ministry confirms 19 more cases

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