All Black's funeral business in liquidation

07:35, Jul 12 2013

The collapse of Va'aiga Tuigamala's Auckland funeral business was largely due to the difficulty collecting debts from mourning families, the former rugby star says.

Tuigamala and Sons Funeral Services went into liquidation last Friday, owing about $80,000 to Inland Revenue.

However, Tuigamala is still working in the funeral business in a company owned by his wife.

Liquidator Derek Ah Sam said Tuigamala and Son's problems stemmed from poor credit control and legacy issues from Tuigamala's gym, which went into liquidation nearly two years ago owing $100,000.

"Inga's personal monies went in to fund the gym and he took the eye off the ball in the funeral business," Ah Sam said.

He estimated that about half the money owed to Inland Revenue was in penalties and interest.

"I understand that he was trying to come up with an arrangement to pay the debt off but it got to a level he couldn't pay."

Tuigamala, famously dubbed "Inga the Winger", said he had tried to repay his creditors without success.

"There's a huge amount of money that's owing to our company and we've tried over the years to collect that money in various forms. When people don't have the money to pay it, it's quite hard."

He confirmed that money from the funeral business as well as his personal funds had gone into trying to keep the gym from collapse.

"That idea [the gym] was born from the funerals I was doing, the concern I had, at the time."

Ah Sam said he would investigate whether Peaceful Funeral Services, the new business of Tuigamala's wife, Daphne - which operates from the same address as her husband's old firm - ran foul of phoenix company rules.

However, he did not think it would because it was not trading under a similar name.

There are strict rules around whether a company can arise from the ashes of a liquidated company under a similar name, to trade on the old firm's identity.

Tuigamala said he was aware of the phoenix company rules and simply wanted to keep serving his community.

"My wife has been able to get some massive help behind the scenes. We're moving forward. We still love serving our community and our people and just because this has happened doesn't mean this is the end of the road for us.

"There's some valuable lessons that we've learned and I think you've just got to remain positive and look forward."

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