Teen who died in gym a 'loving boy' - mum

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 05:00 05/11/2012
FRIENDS PAY TRIBUTE: Joshua Tanuvasa's close friends, Paeturi Maletino, left, and Chad Salvatierra, write tributes to the popular teen on the car they used to travel in together.
PETER DRURY/ Fairfax NZ

FRIENDS PAY TRIBUTE: Joshua Tanuvasa's close friends, Paeturi Maletino, left, and Chad Salvatierra, write tributes to the popular teen on the car they used to travel in together.

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Joshua Tanuvasa was a loving, caring young man who held his mum closest to his heart.

After the 17-year-old's sudden death at Hamilton's Les Mills gym on Wednesday, Josh's body was yesterday returned to his Fairfield home where family and friends gathered to share fond memories of the popular teen.

Josh's mother, Tuatele Tanuvasa, said her son was a "loving boy" who had a huge heart.

"I love my son," she said.

"I don't know what I am going to do without him."

But a constant reminder of her son's love is now placed firmly on Tuatele's finger - a diamond ring which she had her son's friends and family hunt high and low for after she discovered his intention to gift it to her as a Christmas present.

Mrs Tanuvasa said it took the boys removing the furniture from his room before they found the hidden gift.

Shortly after waiting hours in line and purchasing the ring from Michael Hill Jeweller, Joshua died after collapsing while he was working out.

He will now remain at his home until his funeral at the Central Baptist Church on Wednesday.

One of Josh's closest friends, Chad Salvatierra, has offered his car as a graffiti space for tributes to Josh who Chad said used to hang out in the car all the time.

Chad said he was keeping the car parked outside Josh's house with pens on the roof and invited anyone who knew Josh to leave a tribute to him on it.

Paeturi Maletino was also part of the close-knit group that grew up with Josh and said everyone had been jumping at the opportunity to leave their personal messages.

"Pretty much anyone that has come through has left messages," Paeturi said.

Chad remembered Josh, or Joshy Woshy - a nickname that wasn't his favourite - as a humble young lad with a lot of integrity.

"He was a real role model to all of us," Chad said.

The boys had known each other from a young age and Chad said he would always remember Josh's smile and his laugh.

Chad said that although Josh did not have a girlfriend at the time of his death, he was very popular among the ladies, but his favourite lady was his mother.

"He was a bit of a stunner," Chad said.

"His number-one priority was taking care of his mum."

jenna.lynch@waikatotimes.co.nz

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