Pacific Peoples' Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga offers condolences to Kaipara Harbour tragedy victims' families

Pacific Peoples' Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has offered his condolences to the families of the men killed in yesterday's Kaipara Harbour boating tragedy.

Ten of the 11 people on board the Francie when it sunk were of Pacific descent. Seven bodies have been found so far.

One person was still missing.

Four of the men who died were Tongan, one was Samoan and one was of Cook Island descent.

"This was a group of friends who liked to go fishing together from time to time. Their loss will be felt by their families and communities both here and in the Pacific," Lotu-Iga said.

The skipper, Bill McNatty, was also killed after the vessel got into trouble while trying to re-enter the harbvoour in 4-metre waves.

Of the three survivors, two were Tongan and one was of Cook Island descent.

Lotu-Iga also expressed his for McNatty's family.

"This is one New Zealand's worst maritime disasters in recent years and is a tragedy for everyone.

"My prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families who now face Christmas without their fathers, husbands and sons."

Ministry for Pacific Peoples' staff would liaise with the victims' families and police, Lotu-Iga said.

- NZ Herald

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