James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Joy and smiles for twins' parents

After so much tragedy, Jane and Martin Weekes have cause to celebrate as their children are christened

Jane (left) and Martin Weekes had  twins Parker (with Martin) and Poppy (with Jane) christened.
Jane (left) and Martin Weekes had twins Parker (with Martin) and Poppy (with Jane) christened.

An Auckland couple whose triplets died in a Qatar mall fire two years ago have had cause to celebrate with the christening of their twins.

Parker and Poppy Weekes, who will celebrate their first birthday next month, were christened at the Holy Trinity Church in Devonport on Saturday after an emotional and difficult week for their parents, Martin and Jane.


(Left to right) Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes died in a fire.

May 28 marked the second anniversary of the 2012 deaths of their 3-year-old triplets Lillie, Willsher and Jackson who were killed in a fire while at a Qatar mall nursery.

Mr Weekes said before the christening ceremony was held candles were lit to remember each of his three children who had died.

He said the 10-month-old twins were both doing very well and were "growing like crazy" with Parker bigger and taller than his sibling.

"Parker is very tall and very big and very loud," he said.

"Poppy is quite healthy but not quite as big as Parker, I mean, he is in the 98th percentile for his height."

Mr Weekes said the lead-up to the christening had been difficult with the family going to Wellington to finalise the memorial on the triplets' grave. It took the grieving couple two years to do this as they had found it too hard to cope with their loss.

The twins' arrival last year had comforted their parents, but Mr Weekes said the times when their thoughts did not turn to their lost children were extremely rare. "There's never a day when we don't think about Lillie, Jackson and Willsher.

"For a lot of the time it's manageable but then something will creep up on you and I found last week very difficult because it's the one day of their life that we don't want to commemorate.

"However, it's the one day of the year that so many people want to send their condolences and say they're thinking of us and while it's great that people care it's a day we would rather forget, we would rather remember their second birthday parties or when we were travelling but we can't until the court case is finished."

The Telegraph last year reported the owner of the nursery repeatedly failed to turn up to court but remains Qatar's ambassador despite being convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to jail terms.

The chairman of the mall, a mall manager and an official from Qatar's ministry of trade and business were sentenced to prison, but they are appealing and have not spent time in jail.

Mr Weekes said it was the ninth hearing, and has been postponed until next Tuesday.

"The lawyers on the other side are doing all they can to drag it out and delay it. The last time we had a hearing the applicants' lawyer requested an adjournment for two months so he could go on holiday - and he got it. This time he's decided he wants to call someone else, all it is is dragging it out so they get to the summer of Ramadan and nothing will happen."

Joy after tragedy

• Martin and Jane Weekes christened their twins on Saturday.
• Parker and Poppy Weekes will celebrate their first birthday next month.
• May 28 marked the second anniversary of the 2012 deaths of 3-year-old triplets Lillie, Willsher and Jackson.
• The triplets were killed in an inferno while attending a nursery at a Qatar mall.

- NZ Herald

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