Kiwi pilgrimage ends in tragedy
What began as a traditional Kiwi pilgrimage across the ditch ended in tragedy, with a father of four stabbed to death in Perth.
Brian Keenan's family is reeling from the loss of a third brother to tragic circumstances after the New Zealander and "proud dad" was found murdered on December 29.
Two men are now before Western Australia's courts accused of murdering the 50-year-old, who was stabbed to death in the Perth suburb of Balga.
He was the third son who Hilary Keenan, of Lower Hutt, has lost and the bereaved family is urging their fellow Kiwis to hold their loved ones close.
Brian Keenan's death followed the loss of his brother Jason, who died in an accident, and Fraser, who was killed in a fishing boat accident in 1993.
Brian Keenan is survived by his four Perth-based children, his mother, brothers Russell and Nigel, and Kapiti-based sisters Bernie and Renee. His funeral was held in Perth on January 13.
"For all us who loved Brian, our only wish is that we could have been with him to tell him he was loved in his final moments. His death has left a void which we will try to fill with love and forgiveness," sister Bernie Keenan said on behalf of the family.
"We will miss his quick wit, his sense of humour, his colourful stories and his rebellious spirit."
Mr Keenan was found fatally stabbed by the WA emergency services about 10.30pm.
Police have confirmed Brian's youngest son, 11-year-old Nicholas, was present at the time of the attack.
Two men, aged 29 and 33, were arrested and face murder charges in relation to the death. Mr Keenan's family await justice but said they wanted to celebrate his life.
Mr Keenan, who grew up in Lower Hutt, went to Scots College and was a one-time Evening Post paper delivery boy. He left New Zealand in 1986, and the Keenan family recalled how he and his brother Fraser spent some of the best years of their life on their "Great Australian escapade".
He met his then-partner, Sharlene, in Australia and the couple moved around the country.
His brother Fraser's death in New Zealand affected him deeply, his sister said, and the grieving couple named their first-born son in honour of his late uncle.
The four children would sorely miss their father, Ms Keenan said. "He was the most awesome dad, very hands-on in caring for them, demonstrating a level of care that many would think only a mother capable of. He was so tender with them, it was beautiful to behold."
The family urged other New Zealanders to embrace their loved ones while they had them.
"We hope . . . anyone reading [this story] will take a lesson from his life and death and make their best attempts to live each day as best as they can."
The Dominion Post