Kiwi mum slain in Australia - Trust set up for children

By Kirsty Wynn, Russell Blackstock

Sandra Peniamina, 29, was last in New Zealand just weeks ago to see her sick mum Anevili Potter, and another visit was planned for two weeks. Photo / Brisbane Courier Mail
Sandra Peniamina, 29, was last in New Zealand just weeks ago to see her sick mum Anevili Potter, and another visit was planned for two weeks. Photo / Brisbane Courier Mail

A trust has been set up to help the four children of a slain Auckland woman who was allegedly killed by her husband in Queensland.

Sandra Peniamina, 29, was stabbed to death, allegedly by her husband Arona Peniamina, 35, in the driveway of her Brisbane home on Thursday.

Her four children, aged between 4 and 10, are now in the care of Australian-based relatives, but will be returned to New Zealand to be cared for by their grandparents. A trust has now been set up to help the children.

"Tonight we make a plea for financial assistance for the surviving 4 children of Sandra Peniamina who was tragically taken last Thursday night," a Facebook post through The Koha Shed Australia said. The group helps Kiwis in need in Australia.

"All funds raised will be directed to the childrens grandparents in NZ who will be looking after them."

He added: "Any koha however small would be gratefully appreciated."

The family were waiting for Ms Peniamina's body to be released, before she would be repatriated to New Zealand and "laid to rest" in Auckland, the post said.

"TKSA [The Koha Shed Australia] extend our heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers to family, friends and loved-ones of Sandra."

Arona Peniamina. Photo / Supplied
Arona Peniamina. Photo / Supplied

Messages of support have flooded in below the post, which has been shared by around 60 people, many saying they had donated to the fund.

It came after it emerged that Ms Peniamina was due to return home to New Zealand to visit her cancer-stricken mother Anevili Potter.

She was last in New Zealand just weeks ago to see her sick mum, and another visit was planned for two weeks.

Yesterday Peniamina's distraught relatives gathered at the family home in Manurewa to mourn the loss of the mum of four.

Potter was too upset to speak to the Herald on Sunday. But Ms Peniamina's sister, Sylvia Potter, said the family were struggling to understand what had happened.

"We are still trying to process this, we still can't believe what has happened, it is just so hard to take in," she said. "We are grieving for Sandra and we are all in a state of shock."

Neighbours in the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe called emergency services on Thursday night after hearing screams and finding the injured 29-year-old in her driveway.
Paramedics described the scene as one of the worst they'd seen.

Ms Peniamina's four children, aged 4-10, were asleep in the house at the time. Her husband, who is also from Auckland, has been charged with murder.

Yesterday a close relative and friend of Ms Peniamina said she last heard from her on Thursday morning.

"She said she was happy," the relative, who lives in Otara but declined to be named, said.

"I didn't hear anything from her on Thursday night or Friday morning which was unusual but I assumed she didn't have any internet. When I heard what happened I was stunned. I just couldn't believe it.

"Sandra and I were very close," she said.

"We grew up together and she was a real people person. She was outgoing and made lots of friends."

The relative said the Peniaminas had moved to Australia about five years ago.

"I really feel for the kids. Four young children have been left without a mother."

Friend Petala Eteuati said Ms Peniamina had a huge group of friends from James Cook High School, which they attended together.

"It was just her personality. She loved to joke, she had a weird sense of humour and she was the type of friend that was always there for you.

"She loved to clown around and make you laugh."

Eteuati hadn't seen Ms Peniamina since she moved to Australia, but they stayed in touch on Facebook.

One thing that was clear was how much she cared about her four children.

"She spoke about her kids all the time. They meant everything to her."

Eteuati hoped Ms Peniamina could be brought back to New Zealand for the funeral.

Mr Peniamina, 35, has been treated at Redcliffe Hospital for hand injuries.

He was charged with murder at a bedside hearing on Friday before undergoing surgery.

The details to donate to the trust are:
The Koha Shed Australia INC
Commonwealth Bank Aust.
B.S.B: 064 087
Acct: 1014 5297
REF: PeniaminaTrust

- Herald on Sunday

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