Slain Tawa mum 'never saw the bad in anyone'

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 15:01 21/11/2012
Amanda Dawn Taufale
SLAIN: Amanda Dawn Taufale.

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A Tawa woman allegedly murdered by her former boyfriend was ''more perfect than perfection'', her grieving son says.

Amanda Dawn Taufale's green casket adorned with her cloak, taiaha and patu was carried into Old St Paul's this morning to cries and wails from women involved with her in mau rakau, or Maori martial arts. Many were forced to stand as more than 600 mourners packed into the church for the emotional service lead by family friend Kelvin Nelson.

''She gave 100 per cent to see that other people were happy,'' Mr Nelson said in his opening address.

Ms Taufale, 33, a mother of two, was found dead in her Sunrise Blvd home by her eldest son Liam, 15, about 8am last Thursday.

Her ex-boyfriend Ernest Smith, 38, has been charged with her murder.

During an emotional tribute at the service today Liam said he always enjoyed spending time with his mother.

''You might describe my mum as perfection, but you can't because she was more perfect than perfection,'' he said through tears.

''This quality, I don't know much about it, but I can assure you she's got it in and around her.''

He remembered his mother as a caring woman who loved everybody and would always make him happy even when he was sad.

''Whenever I was hurt my mum would be there to help me, to make me feel safe and warm.

''It's amazing that she can make you smile when you should have a frown.

''Mum, Charlie and I really miss you, Charlie and I will always love you. See you soon mum.''

Leading tributes at the service close friend Geraldine Gray said Ms Taufale was the highest ranking Pakeha woman in the mau rakau discipline of taiaha in Wellington.

''She was unrelenting, passionate and fearless,'' Ms Gray said.

''Her fighting style was one of a kind.

''Those who came in with preconceived ideas ... soon understood what they were up against.

''With Amanda it was never done by halves.''

Ms Gray said she enjoyed spending time with Ms Taufale - reading cards, drinking and gossiping over chocolate.

''She had a smile that sparkled like the Colgate fluoroguard ad.''

Mattie Jorgensen said his cousin was a woman who hated being the centre of attention but loved spending time with family and friends.

''Mandy was one who never took herself too seriously. She was however, probably the least superficial person you'd ever meet.''

He remembered how she had woken Liam up at midnight on his 13th birthday and sang and danced for him.

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''It speaks volumes about her commitment to cherish special moments like that with her loved ones.''

She had worked with disadvantaged children and victims of domestic violence. ''She adored finding ways for them to find their own potential and develop their own self esteem,'' he said.

''You exemplify the very best of humanity. You leave a hole in the fabrics of our family and the community that's just never going to be filled.''

Most recently Ms Taufale worked for Industrial Research as a science services coordinator.

Her boss Richard Furneaux - accompanied by a blow-up T-Rex and Flamingo - said Ms Taufale was a hard working, efficient and valuable employee who started at the company in 2010.

''She was at the sharp end of social work in our community,'' Mr Furneaux said.''Amanda had a passion for helping people to make the best of their lives and to make lives better all around especially when things were difficult.

''Her door was always open.''

- The Dominion Post

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