Tongan community mourns the five killed in car crash near Katikati

The Tongan community, friends, and family mourn the loss of five men tragically killed August 2nd.

Samuel Taukatelata, Halani Fine (top), Koli Vaipulu (middle), Sione Teulaka and Sitiveni Vaipulu (bottom). Photo: FacebookThe five men were leaving work at Aongatete kiwifruit coolstore near Katikati in the Bay of Plenty when their car was hit by an unladen logging truck on State Highway 2.

Halani Fine, Koli Vaipulu, Sitiveni Vaipulu, Sione Teulaka, and Samuela Taukatelata, were all Tongan with four of them in New Zealand on seasonal work visas.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga offered his condolences,

"This is a tragedy for everyone concerned. My prayers and sympathies are with the families and friends of these five men and we offer any support we can at this difficult time."

The Tongan PM, currently visiting New Zealand, was expected to meet with family members and attend the community remembrance service in Katikati. However he cancelled these plans with his office stating they were advised not to fly due to bad weather.