WARNING: This article discusses domestic violence.
A life-long friend of New Zealand mother of four Siva Auvae, who was stabbed multiple times in an alleged domestic violence incident in Brisbane, says her death is a “big shock”.
Brittany Haretuku, who grew up with Auvae in West Auckland, told NZME they maintained regular contact via social media, including a two-hour face-to-face call around three weeks ago.
Neighbours have described to local media seeing Auvae run screaming from the house on Frances Court in Kallangur, being chased by a man before collapsing about 400m away.
When emergency services arrived a nearby house was ablaze, police said. The man, alleged to be Auvae’s partner, Anarau Ormond, was found about an hour later with serious injuries from the fire. He died in hospital on Sunday.
Haretuku said that at that time she understood Auvae’s partner, Ormond, was at work.
She said while she had not met Ormond, she knew of him, but had no indication of any domestic violence issues in the family’s home, and wonders now if there were any signals she could have picked up on.
“It’s a big shock. I’ve known her since she was 5 years old,” she said.
Haretuku said she and Auvae were close when they attended Kelston Girls’ College together as teenagers. Auvae would have been celebrating her 32nd birthday on Christmas Day.
Local resident Kiana Jeffrey told the Courier Mail she was having a barbecue with her family when she saw a house was on fire. She ran up the driveway to see a woman face down in the road.
“I just remember seeing her blood everywhere, on the driveway there was a big puddle and all the police just came flying,” she said.
Haretuku said Auvae had moved to Australia around seven years ago, living with her partner and their children in Sydney and Queensland.
She said she feels “so sorry” for the four children, the eldest aged about 9, the youngest not yet a year old.
Tributes online from heartbroken family and friends have called Auvae a beautiful soul and a wonderful mother.
One woman called her “the most loving, beautiful, kind person I have had the pleasure to know”.
Another said her mother and siblings were struggling to come to terms with their loss and were doing everything to get Auvae home to Aotearoa.
“Can only imagine what your poor babies are going through.”
A Givealittle fundraiser set up by Auvae’s family to help with the costs of bringing the young mum back to New Zealand and helping her “beautiful children” has raised nearly $15,000.
“Her whānau here in New Zealand are doing everything they can to find out more details surrounding her death and the events leading up.”
Three crime scenes have been set up on Frances Court and police are calling for any information or dashcam footage from the night.
Nobody else is being sought over the deaths.
At a press conference on Sunday, Detective Inspector David Harbison from Moreton Police said police were continuing to investigate a domestic violence-related homicide, the Courier Mail reported.
Harbison said it was too early to make a comment in regards to any history of domestic violence.
The couple were in a long-term relationship and had recently moved from New South Wales.
“I can state there are no current domestic violence orders in New South Wales or Queensland,” he said.
Queensland Police had received no calls for service to the address before the fire, he said.
It appeared the man had deliberately lit the fire after Auvae was stabbed.
Harbison told media the scene was confronting for police and the public. There was no danger to the public.