Kaipara Harbour tragedy: The man missing to the sea

By Tess Nichol, Morgan Tait, Olivia Carville, Olivia Carville

Taulagi Afamasaga is still missing after the boat he was on capsized on Saturday afternoon in rough seas. Photo / File
Taulagi Afamasaga is still missing after the boat he was on capsized on Saturday afternoon in rough seas. Photo / File

The daughter of the last unaccounted fisherman in the Kaipara boating tragedy says she just wants her dad home again.

Taulagi Afamasaga, 56, has not been seen or heard from since the Francie fishing charter capsized on Saturday afternoon.

Eleven men were thrown into the rough seas: three survived, seven bodies have been recovered from the ocean and one, Afamasaga, is still missing.

His daughter, Amy Yerro, told the Herald her family was "barely hanging on" Monday afternoon.

"We just want him home," Yerro said.

She described her father as a humble and generous man who was so loved by those who knew him. He loved fishing and would go out with his friends on a chartered trip every month, she said.

"He was a very humble man; a very generous man," Yerro said of her father.

"He was very much loved by everyone. He would take the shirt off his back for anyone."

Yerro said her mother was too distraught to talk to the media.

"Mum's not in a good place right now," she said.

All the family knew was that police were still searching for his body but they didn't know where along the coast he might be, Yerro said.

Police have not identified the victims of the Kaipara boating tragedy, but this morning said the search for the 11th man had continued at first light today.

Relatives of Afamasaga have been sharing links to stories about the boating tragedy on social media and commenting that they are still holding out hope he is coming home.

Some Australian-based family members have commented on photos of Afamasaga to say that they are now on their way to New Zealand.

One relative wrote on Facebook: "Please don't leave us we are still waiting for your coming back to our family be strong God is with you (sic)."

The Francie charter boat, the boat which capsized Saturday in the Kaipara Harbour. Photo / Supplied
The Francie charter boat, the boat which capsized Saturday in the Kaipara Harbour. Photo / Supplied

Another wrote "We are all praying for you please come back to us."

Below the comments, other friends and family members are asking if there has been any news.

The Francie capsize has been labelled one of New Zealand's worst maritime disasters in recent history.

The Herald has confirmed the identities of six of the victims: skipper Bill McNatty and fishermen Alipate Manumu'a, Sunia Onga'unga, Tevita Tangi, Fredrick Marsters and Fonua Taufa.

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- NZ Herald

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