Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Young Kiwi mum living in Sydney learns she's pregnant two weeks after partner's sudden death

Kiwi Ellie Otineru, 22, with her partner, Apii Tauei, 20, who died suddenly in August. Photo / supplied
Kiwi Ellie Otineru, 22, with her partner, Apii Tauei, 20, who died suddenly in August. Photo / supplied

Ellie Otineru's world turned upside down when her partner of five years died suddenly in August, aged 20. Two weeks later, she learned she was carrying his child.

The young Kiwi mother, who lives in Sydney, already has two children, Leo, 4, and Faith, 2. . Her partner, Apii Tauei, a construction worker, died from a medical condition. He was the sole provider for the family.

The 22-year-old isn't eligible for a solo mother benefit as she is not an Australian citizen.

While she struggles to make ends meet, she wants to stay in Sydney so she can be close to Tauei's grave.

"It hurts. I feel really sad knowing this child will never get to meet their dad. It's nice [having his child] but it's hard."

Otineru moved to Sydney from Christchurch with her parents and siblings nine years ago. She relies on the support of her parents, who she moved back in with, and a Family Tax Benefit of about $400 a fortnight.

She takes her children to their father's grave every week and goes by herself at other times. Her son has some understanding he has died, but her daughter is too young to comprehend it.

Ellie Otineru's children Leo Tauei, 4, and Faith Tauei, 2. Photo / supplied
Ellie Otineru's children Leo Tauei, 4, and Faith Tauei, 2. Photo / supplied

A Go Fund Me page has been started for Otineru and friends have been asking for donated items for the baby on Facebook. Her child is due in January.

"There's not a lot of options for New Zealand citizens for social welfare. A lot of people have donated things for the new baby, but it won't have a father's love.

"It's going to be a long road ahead. I have to be prepared and take it on."

Otineru's friend, Kim Locker, who has been asking for donations, said she had been soldiering on, one day at a time.

"No one deserves to go through what she's going through, especially at her age.

"She is trying to grieve for the man she loved and expected to be with the rest of her life, and look after herself and the baby."

Locker described Otineru as an "absolutely amazing mum and beautiful person".

"This has happened to the wrong person. She lives and breathes for her kids. I can't fault her.

"She didn't want me to ask for help for her, but I had to do something. I would help her myself if I could financially."

Ellie Otineru with her children, Leo, now 4, Faith, now 2, and her partner, Apii Tauei, who died in August, aged 20. Photo / supplied
Ellie Otineru with her children, Leo, now 4, Faith, now 2, and her partner, Apii Tauei, who died in August, aged 20. Photo / supplied

To support Otineru, go to https://www.gofundme.com/ellie-and-children-needing-help-2uteeudk

- Herald on Sunday

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