Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ journalist based in Auckland.

Fatal Gold Coast fall victim's sister speaks

Reza Tagpuno, 23, spoke out publicly for the first time at a press conference at the Surfers Paradise police centre today.
Reza Tagpuno, 23, spoke out publicly for the first time at a press conference at the Surfers Paradise police centre today.

The tearful sister of a young Kiwi woman who plunged 14 storeys to her death from a Gold Coast balcony says she was the most important person in her world and her best friend.

Warriena "Rrie" Wright, who was on the Gold Coast for a wedding, fell from the balcony of the Avalon apartments in Surfers Paradise about 2.30am on Friday.

The 26-year-old Lower Hutt woman had been at the apartment with Gable Tostee, 28, whom she had met through the dating app Tinder.

Mr Tostee left the apartment on the morning of Ms Wright's death, but later went to police and was released without charge.

Ms Wright's sister, Reza Tagpuno, 23, spoke out publicly for the first time at a press conference at the Surfers Paradise police centre today.

Fighting back tears, she said her sister was a very private person and it was very hard for her to talk about her.

"She would really hate all of this attention about her.

"Rrie was the most important person in my world. Most of the time we only had each other to rely on. She was a very beautiful, intelligent, caring person who not only was my sister, but she was my best friend."

Ms Tagpuno said her sister was a strong supporter of animal rights and protection who stood by her convictions.

"She was a funny practical joker who constantly kept me and my friends entertained and happy.

"It is hard for me facing the loss of my sister without knowing what happened in the last hours of her life.

"I hope that if anyone in the community has any information to help me know more, that they can contact the police."

Ms Tagpuno agreed her sister was a beautiful young girl. She said they always "played pranks" on each other.

"Most of the time we really only had each other, so it's really hard for me. She looked out for me and always made sure that I was OK. She was really responsible as well."

Ms Wright had been on the Gold Coast for a "close friend's wedding", Ms Tagpuno said.

"She was really excited to see her friend because they used to work at Pixie Photos together."

The girls had lived in Australia for a "little while" when they were younger.

Ms Wright was in contact while she was over on the Gold Coast.

"We were always in contact."

Her sister said she was having a good time.

Ms Tagpuno last heard from her sister on Thursday last week about 8pm NZT.

"It was Facebooking. We weren't talking about what she was doing, I was talking about fixing her car. There was an oil leak."

Asked about her favourite memory of Ms Wright, a tearful Ms Tagpuno said in a breaking voice: "There's just too much."

She agreed her sister was like a mum to her.

- APNZ

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