Teen's final goodbye

Family and friends mourn Joshua Tanuvasa

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 08:03 08/11/2012

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It  was easy to tell that Joshua Tanuvasa was a very loved boy.

He was a part of numerous communities and touched the hearts of many people in his short life time.

More than a thousand people filled the Gateway Christian Centre yesterday afternoon to farewell the Hamilton teen who was described by all as a generous, humorous, humble and inspiring young man.

In a ceremony that stretched over two hours, friends and family paid many tributes to Josh, their beloved son, brother, uncle, nephew, grandson and friend.

Joshua's body was carried in to the church by close friends while his band Christylaz performed 'Enter in - ' a song that Joshua had helped write, before many laid gifts of tribute on the coffin, ranging from flowers to traditional Samoan blankets.

Pastor Liz Moffitt led the ceremony and thanked the community for the overwhelming amount of support and love  that Joshua's family had received over the past week.

Joshua's grandfather, Toefaeono Tanuvasa, a recent recipient of a Queens Service Medal, welcomed the crowd in Samoan, before several groups took the stage to perform songs, bible readings and powerful hakas.

Joshua's childhood friend Chad Salvatierra described Josh's love and respect for his mother and performed one of their favourite songs.

Schoolmates Drew Barker and Kahurangi Warksworth described Josh as a motivator, before sharing humorous stories of how he would regularly tell the boys to clean up their act.

Warksworth described the way Josh would always scold him for incorrect uniform at St John's College, and how Josh selflessly offered his own clothes to Kahurangi so he didn't "look like a hori".
"Well, I'm in full uniform today," he joked.

Barker told the farewellers that Josh always "took pride in everything" right down to telling them not to smoke in front of his home as they made his house look dirty.

"He looked sharp all the time," he said.

The roof was raised when footage of Josh's New Zealand's got Talent audition video was screened, with people singing, clapping and laughing along to their beloved friend's performance.

In a tribute to his brother, Dylan Carpenter  finished a song that he and Josh were working on before his death, which was played alongside a slideshow of photos from Josh's life - a show that brought tears and laughter.

Joshua  mother, Tuatele Tanuvasa spoke near the end of the service and told the crowds of her darling son who was a "loving boy" and she shared moments from his life before saying goodbye.

"Son, I will always love you." 

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