Bright young lives tragically cut short

Brenda Simati's family will remember her as a good girl with a fabulous smile.

The 15-year-old Otahuhu College student - a regular churchgoer - was one of four children killed in Tuesday morning's fatal housefire in Mangere.

Brenda, her stepsisters Taua Evile, 11, Mia Evile, 8, and 1-year-old nephew Tyreece Simati died after chip-oil caught fire about 12.45am.

Yesterday - as the community rallied together outside the Nicola Place home - Brenda's family remembered her as a good girl who never gave them any problems.

An uncle told the Herald she was a caring girl and always helped look after the other children. She enjoyed sport - particularly basketball and athletics - and was always "full of life".

Brenda had moved to Otahuhu from Kelston Girls' High School in August and would have started her first year of NCEA studies this year.

Otahuhu deputy principal Glennis Boyle said support would be available to Brenda's friends if they needed it.

Tyreece was yesterday described as inquisitive and "full of beans".

His uncle - Aveloa Sauvao - said he was a "cute little boy".

Bruce Adams, of Christchurch, said his grandchildren Taua and Mia were bright and happy youngsters, who impressed everyone they met.

"They had good manners and were never rude to anyone. They loved to joke with people."

The girls split their time between their mother's home in Christchurch and their grandparents' home in Tai Tapu, 15km south of Christchurch.

Taua excelled at school, and had been put into an advanced class.

Mia was also smart, with a gift for spelling long words and drawing.

She was born with clubbed feet and sometimes struggled to keep up with other children.

"But she put everything into everything she did. She was a real little battler," Mr Adams said.

- NZ Herald

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