Families mourn at capital service

08:56, Aug 10 2009
Alisi Taumoepeau
HOMELAND TRAGEDY: Former Tongan attorney-general Alisi Taumoepeau at Wesley Church.

Tears flowed as Wellington's Tongan community gathered to comfort each other.

A service was held yesterday at Wesley Church in Taranaki St to mourn the victims of the Princess Ashika ferry disaster.

The congregation prayed for the 95 people still missing, presumed drowned, as services were held in Tonga and across New Zealand.

Several Tongan Methodists were visiting New Zealand when the tragedy struck on Wednesday night. Former Tongan attorney-general and justice minister Alisi Taumoepeau was at her son's hospital bedside in Wellington, after he dislocated his elbow playing rugby, when she heard the news.

She was overwhelmed with how the Tongan community had rallied together. "It's brought people together and it's wonderful to see."

She will return to Tonga this week.

Wesley Church minister Tevita Finau and his wife, Valeti, had three relatives on the Princess Ashika who have not yet been found.


The Dominion Post