In memory of Shalvin
It's a year to the day since the Prasad family lost their beloved Shalvin.
His body was found burnt on the side of a road in Kingseat.
The months have been hard for the Flat Bush family and the murder trial for the two men accused of burning him alive is still to come.
"It still hurts as the first day he left the house," older brother Pravin says.
"Shalvin was a very loud person, he used to listen to a lot of music. We feel it when we get home, it's very quiet."
About 150 people gathered at a park in Takanini on Sunday for a memorial soccer game to remember and celebrate the 21-year-old's life. Family and friends took on Shalvin's old social team from the Manukau United club, where he was a goalkeeper.
"Coming up to a year of his passing we thought what better tribute to give to him," Pravin says.
"He was absolutely crazy for the sport. We knew Shal was there in spirit, trying to look after that goal."
Pravin and their father Ravin also used to play soccer with Shalvin at the park every Sunday.
"So it was fitting that we actually went back and played there."
The Prasads came to New Zealand from Fiji in 1999, living in Manurewa before moving to Flat Bush in 2005. The family is tight-knit, with Pravin and his wife living with his parents in the family home.
"We always stayed together, even when I got married about three years ago," he says.
It's been a hugely difficult time for the family over the past year but that tightness has helped them through.
"We've looked after each other, made sure that everyone is there for each other when the support is needed."
The murder trial is due to start at the Auckland High Court on July 7.
Pravin says it will be tough but the family has broken it down into steps to make it manageable.
"We frequently sit together and talk about it.
"We see it as another challenge that we have to face. We've had a lot of challenges in the last year."
Two weeks ago the Prasads finished a year of Hindu rituals and prayers for Shalvin, and are thankful for the community support.
Pravin says the memorial soccer match was successful.
"Those people that came out and supported us gave us enormous belief that going forward we can rely on people out there to come and support us when July 7 comes around."
Shalvin was a foundation student at Botany Downs Secondary College before working fulltime in the Botany Pak 'n Save produce section.
Pravin says his brother was a lovable workaholic.
"He was always one of the first guys you saw. People remember him through that because he always had such a chirpy face and he was always smiling no matter what mood he was in."
He had a lot of friends and kept in contact with them, even if he hadn't seen them in years.
"That was something quite special about him, I find, because although he's not here now you can see people flooding into his Facebook page."
- Eastern Courier
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