Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Grieving family want their girl home

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Amanda Tauai. Photo / Supplied
Amanda Tauai. Photo / Supplied

The family of a young Tauranga woman who died suddenly in Western Australia are struggling to raise the money needed to bring her body home.

Amanda Tauai died on Saturday in a Perth hospital from what is believed to be meningitis after being airlifted from Paraburdoo, a mining town.

The 21-year-old's family rushed from Tauranga to be at her bedside when they heard she was sick but she died before they arrived.

Now her friends in Paraburdoo and Tauranga are fundraising to help her family who need almost $10,000 to bring the body back to New Zealand.

Claire Rasmussen, a friend in Paraburdoo, and two others set up a trust fund in Miss Tauai's name and are holding events to try to raise money for her family.

"She would do the same for any one of us - she'd be out there doing a drive and doing the same thing, she was amazing," Miss Rasmussen said.

"We're doing a barbecue at the local football grounds so hopefully that will bring some money in.

"Local artists are also selling off some pictures with all of the proceeds going to her family."

A trust fund has been set up in Tauranga called "Amanda's Angels" to pay for funeral costs.

Miss Tauai had been working in Paraburdoo, in the Pilbara region more than 1500km north of Perth. Most of the town's residents are employed by Pilbara Iron's mining operation.

Miss Rasmussen said her friend would be remembered as a kind, sweet and friendly person.

"She just touched so many people ... it's a very small community here and she was very sociable. She was just so nice, never selfish, always wanted to help all the time ..."

A Tauranga Girls' College teacher who knew Miss Tauai well yesterday paid tribute to the young woman who she said left the school in 2008.

"Amanda was a really lovely girl. I remember her being into her volleyball. She was a really polite, and lovely student."

- additional reporting: APN

- NZ Herald

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