The daughter of the woman, who perished in a house fire just before Christmas has farewelled her mother in a touching poetic tribute describing her as the "the best mother".

Over a hundred people attended a funeral for a Flat Bush woman, her 5-year-old son and mother who died in a house fire shortly before Christmas.
A service was held today at the Manukau Memorial Gardens in Auckland.

The trio died when a fire ripped through their Flat Bush home on December 22. Photo / Michael Allen
The trio died when a fire ripped through their Flat Bush home on December 22. Photo / Michael Allen

Daughter Krishah, 11, gave the first tribute at the funeral for her mother, Bhamini Theiventhiran, 5-year-old brother, Bareth and grandmother Umadhevi before hundreds of mourners at the Manukau Memorial Gardens in Auckland.

"Mum you mean the world to me, I'm glad you went so peacefully," she said. "The best baker to be known unfortunately has left us all alone."


Krishah paid tribute to a "jolly good brother" and her grandmother who had the "secret to recipes" and all the techniques you need to know.

"It's really hard for me to let you go," she said, "I will always love you.

"I am grateful I got to be with them and got to enjoy all the special memories.

"They will be with me forever."

'She handled any problems with a smile'

Bhamini's sister, Abina, described her as the "best friend and strongest woman I know".

"She handled any problems with a smile."

As for her nephew, she described her incredulity that the "sweetest, most energetic, kindest boy," she knew was gone.


"I can't believe God has taken him away from me."

And at the loss of her mother; it "numbs my core".

"I cannot express the soreness I feel, and today I can't help but ask; 'why my sister but not me?'"

She described her mother, Umadhevi, as her best friend, someone she could confide in who had both a "gentle touch" and a "gentle grin".

"When I think of her kind heart ... my memories surround me and I can't hold back the tears.

"Thank you my dear mother for all the love you showed me."

'Bareth, you will always be my laughing star'

Bareth's preschool teacher Rosemarie Redondo shared a slideshow of images of the 5-year-old that she said told a story of "the boy we all loved and will be greatly missed".

"He was always happy, there was never a dull moment, his cheerful voice when he arrived at kindy in the morning was reason enough for his teachers to be there.

"Bareth, you will always be my laughing star."

Images showed Bareth pulling faces, doing crafts with his teachers and fellow students, playing sport and a frequent lovable grin.

Three coffins side-by-side

The family have described the trio's positivity of spirit and the huge hole they would all leave behind.

Pictures of the family were displayed on television screens throughout the church, just before the service started at 1pm.

Three coffins were placed in front of the altar and adorned with a colourful array of flowers and portraits of those who died.

The three died when a fire ripped through their Flat Bush home on December 22, leaving Bhamini's husband Kaileshan Thanabalasingham with burns to 40 per cent of his body and in a medically-induced coma.

On behalf of the family, Glenys Lindsay, who officiated the service, thanked all those who'd been there for the family over the last few weeks.

She asked people to hold in their prayers Kaileshan and wished him a speedy recovery.

Khailesh Thanabalasingham was severely injured in the blaze. Photo / Supplied
Khailesh Thanabalasingham was severely injured in the blaze. Photo / Supplied

Her opening words were followed by a traditional chanted prayer.

The prominent refugee advocate father had opened his eyes when family members arrived from overseas on Saturday but was still heavily sedated, lawyer and close friend Deborah Manning said last week.

Their families have farewelled the "loving mother, wonderful wife and beautiful little boy" in a funeral notice in the Herald.

The daughter Krishah and Bhamini's father were the only other two to make it out of the fire unscathed.

The young girl reportedly escaped to tell firefighters people were still inside the two-storey house, which was well ablaze, with windows exploding and smoke billowing.

Fire crews worked on putting it out and enabling a rescue crew to get inside, but were unable to save everyone.

This afternoon's funeral will be followed by private cremation and burial for Bareth, the funeral notice stated.

"Kaileshan and his family would like to extend their gratitude to everyone that have offered their support and assistance at this time," it read.

Umadhevi is survived by her husband Theiventhiran and daughter Abina, who live in Canada.

Bhamini is survived by her husband Kailesh and daughter Krishah.

Donations to a Givealittle page, set up by the refugee community, have so far amassed more than $77,000.

It will be used to help with funeral, medical and practical costs for the family.

Thanabalasingham came to New Zealand as a refugee more than 10 years ago and has been described by Manning as someone with "great empathy for others".

"He didn't come to New Zealand to look after himself. He made sure he looked after as many people as he could."