'No ill will' over death
The family of former detective Joshua Liava'a says they hold "no ill will" against the relative accused of their father's murder.
The 66-year-old Mangere man was allegedly murdered in Hawaii on June 15.
Honolulu Police have charged 18-year-old Samuela Mataele with second-degree murder, news website Kaniva Pacific reported.
Son Joseph Liava'a said the accused is a relative but the family does not want to comment on the case.
"We're all related and we hold no ill will against him."
Joseph returned from Hawaii late Tuesday night. He said his father's body will return to New Zealand tonight.
Joshua Liava'a was believed to be the first Pacific Island detective sergeant in New Zealand.
He was based at the central Auckland police station during the 1970s, through to the mid-1980s.
"There weren't that many Pacific Island people in New Zealand at that time," Joseph said.
Joseph said his father had a great memory. He could remember specific details about people he worked with during his time with the police.
Joshua Liava'a was a well-respected rugby league player, having been on both NZ Kiwis and NZ Maori teams - the latter for five years despite having no Maori heritage, his son said.
Joshua Liava'a came to New Zealand in 1966 on a Tongan government scholarship for high school students.
He attended Auckland Grammar, where three of his sons also attended.
Joshua Liava'a was retired. He moved to the United States three years ago and was visiting relatives in Hawaii at the time of his death.
He leaves behind wife Victoria.
Joseph said his father was a loving man, "always looking for any excuse to help anyone".
"We was a great dad and family man."
A Tongan wake, open to the public, will be held tomorrow from 7pm at the Mormon church on Captain Springs Rd, Onehunga.
Joshua Liava'a will be farewelled at the church on Saturday at 10am. He will be laid to rest at 1pm that day at Manukau Memorial Gardens.