Mother and son 'leave legacy to cherish'

Last updated 08:59 21/12/2013
Lesili Langi
CRASH VICTIM: Lesili Langi, 15, died in the crash near Taylorville that also claimed his mother's life.

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A West Coast community has farewelled a mother of seven and her teenage son, who were killed in a car crash near Greymouth.

About 200 people attended yesterday's funeral service at Greymouth High School, where Lesili Langi, 15, had just finished Year 11.

An emotional haka by his schoolmates rang out as the coffins were placed in hearses for their journey north for burial in Manukau on Monday. Lavinia Manui Langi, 43, known as Manui, and Lesili, her eldest child, drowned after the van she was driving careered off Taylorville Rd, a few kilometres from Greymouth, about 11am on Monday. It was raining heavily and the van rolled down a bank into a creek.

Another son, Kavana, 3, clambered from the wreck and was rescued from the water by passing motorists. Her five other children were at home.

A relative, Atu Kinikini, told yesterday's service that Manui and Lesili had left behind a legacy to cherish and emulate.

Manui was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Greymouth. She always dressed her children smartly for church every week but those clothes came from the Salvation Army. "Mothers who are here today, I think Manui is teaching us a story. It doesn't matter what you have, you are grateful for that," Kinikini said.

Lesili, who was about 5 when his family shifted from Tonga to the West Coast, was a fine example to his brothers and sisters as the eldest son, she said.

"He loved and obeyed his parents . . . Lesili taught us to learn to respect and help our parents."

Manui Langi had been driving home after collecting scrap meat from a home-kill butcher because the family had been struggling financially, promoting relatives to say poverty was a contributing factor to the crash.

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- © Fairfax NZ News


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