Boatie's family continues search

Last updated 14:56 15/01/2014

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The family of missing boatie Amituana'i Uikilifi Peniamina Galuvao continue to search for their relative 10 days after he was washed overboard off a small boat at Seaview in bad weather.

Family spokesman Ieti Tiatia revealed today about 15 to 20 family members were still out scouring the shores of Wellington Harbour "to get their father and cousin back". 

The official police and navy search for Mr Peniamina was suspended at the weekend.

Mr Tiatia said he was frightened by the prospect his nephew's body might actually be found.  

''We would rather remember him the way he was. We don't want to remember him in a scene nobody really wants to know about,'' Mr Tiatia said.

However he did not want to tell his family members to stop their unofficial search.

''They want to have a body to farewell him properly, which is understandable. You never know, they might just find him. It is a very sad time for the family. They have been out there looking ever since my nephew went missing on January 5.''

Speaking personally, however, Mr Tiatia said the time was coming when he would like his family "to let Uikilifi go".

''The sea is his grave. I would rather remember him on what he was rather than what he is now.''

Mr Tiatia and his wife sponsored Mr Peniamina, 49, when he first came to Wellington from Samoa 25 years ago. 

''He was my sister's [Matai'a Piki Galuvao] son. He was married to Doris Palolo in the Hutt Valley and they have seven children aged from three to 22,'' Mr Tiatia said.

Mr Tiatia is angry with his missing nephew and the small boat owner for going out to sea in stormy conditions without wearing life jackets.

''Everything was against what they did. The weather was so bad and they decided to go out and check a fishing net. They could have waited another day for the fish. No-one is really hungry in this country.''

Mr Tiatia will meet with Mr Peniamina's immediate family members later this week. If Mr Peniamina still has not been found, he will suggest to Doris Palolo and her children they focus their thoughts on a memorial service for their husband and father. 

Mr Peniamina's brother, the Reverend Mose Galuvao, a minister with the Samoan congregational church in Samoa, in expected in Wellington next week to preside over a funeral or memorial service.   

Mr Peniamina had lived in the Wellington region for 25 years and was living in an Upper Hutt flat when he died. 

Mr Tiatia had nothing but praise for the work undertaken by the police, the navy dive squad and the Westpac helicopter in the ongoing effort to find Mr Peniamina.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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