Bid to bring former Rotorua man's body home

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The family of a former Rotorua man have started a fundraising campaign to raise the $15,000 needed to bring his body home, saying he "needs to come back to his roots".

Jason Kahukiwa was killed on a train track in Melbourne last Thursday alongside friend Callum Hall, who was trying to rescue Mr Kahukiwa.

The family is originally from Rotorua and sister Kylie Kahukiwa said they still had extended family in Rotorua.

Her brother had gone to Lynmore Primary School before the family moved to Melbourne about 12 years ago

Ms Kahukiwa has launched the GoFundMe campaign to help with the costs, and the page had raised $4855 by Sunday afternoon with more than 90 donations. It comes as the Maori Affairs Select Committee is conducting an inquiry into whanau access to and management of tupapaku (bodies) including repatriation from overseas

Ms Kahukiwa said she wanted her brother's body home.

"We want him to come and be with me and his nieces and nephews in Gisborne, then we can go and visit him all the time," she said.

"It's so important to bring him home. Melbourne was his life, but it's not home. It's important for him to be back with his family, he needs to come back to his roots and be with us.

"He was so, so caring, he would always put everyone else before him. He always worried about everyone else. He loved his friends, he was loyal to them. A lot of his friends have been messaging me.

"He did a lot of living in his 20 years, he loved being around people and being with his friends, he was always on a mission.

"He was just a really neat boy. He was loved by his family and especially his friends."

Maori Party co-leader and Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell said the issue of bringing bodies back to New Zealand was serious and needed to be looked at.

The Maori Affairs Select Committee is conducting an inquiry into whanau access to and management of tupapaku.

Mr Flavell said he had a similar circumstance with a family member who died in Australia just two weeks ago

"I can understand that people would be anxious about deaths that happen in Australia."

He said it could be really hard on the family when they couldn't get a body brought home, especially when costs were involved.


?If you would like to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/245ub78.

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