The death of a Fijian man who fell from a New Zealand diplomat's balcony in Suva is still raising questions nearly two years later.

Josateki Narube, 26, died two days after sustaining head injuries when he fell from the second-floor apartment in October 2015.

An investigation by 1 News has found the diplomat flew back to New Zealand four days later, apparently against the wishes of Fijian police, who wrote a letter saying if his diplomatic immunity had been waived he would not have been allowed to travel.

Friends told 1 News Narube had been clubbing late into the night with the New Zealand immigration official, and they had returned to the apartment early on October 31.

It still hasn't been established exactly what happened next. But 1 News reporter Andrea Vance understood the unnamed diplomat had told police Narube jumped from the balcony after "an altercation over money".

After the diplomat contacted his employers, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism (MFat), the New Zealand High Commission, Immigration NZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment quickly began working on the best way to deal with the incident and support the diplomat.

Documents released to Vance under the Official Information Act, and seen by the Herald, show officials deliberated over whether the man should have his diplomatic immunity partially waived so he could give a statement to Fijian police.

The man was granted a partial waiver of his immunity and was interviewed by police on November 1. On November 2, Narube died.

The diplomat was "distressed", needed support from family and friends and had indicated he wanted to leave Fiji, the OIA documents show.

But the officials were keen to avoid any perception that he was invoking diplomatic immunity to leave the country without the blessing of the local police.

"In considering arrangements for any departure by [the diplomat] from Fiji we need to be cautious to ensure that his departure is not viewed as a withdrawal under cover of immunity, or [the diplomat] seeking to avoid further engagement with authorities. Either might be seen to imply guilt for an unspecified crime," one official wrote.

The New Zealand High Commission in Suva repeatedly sought assurances from Fijian police that he was free to fly home to New Zealand after his interview.

According to the documents they received that assurance verbally on November 2 from the Acting Commission of Fiji Police, followed up in writing on November 3.

It was planned for the diplomat to leave on the morning of November 4.

But at midday on November 4, while his plane was preparing for takeoff, the High Commission received a new letter from Fijian police saying they "would not have allowed [the diplomat] to travel to NZ if immunity was waived and full investigation has [commenced]".

Nearly two hours after the High Commission received that letter, the commission learned that the diplomat's plane had been delayed and was still sitting on the tarmac in Fiji, moments from departure.

Instead of pulling him off the plane, "a quick decision was taken not to have [the diplomat] disembark, given that it would likely exacerbate [blanked out] and given that we had acted in good faith in arranging his departure with what we understood to be Fiji police's agreement", an official wrote.

The employee left his job with Immigration New Zealand last year. The documents note that if he was extradited to Fiji, his diplomatic immunity would no longer apply.

A summary of the OIA documents says the New Zealand Government "cooperated fully" with Fiji police, who have since advised their investigation has been concluded.

No charges have been laid, and a backlog in the court system meant Narube's case could take years to conclude.

In Fiji the family was grieving the loss of a "beautiful soul", according to posters on his Facebook page.

Narube's mother Timaima Radrodro told the Fiji Timesher son, the eldest of four siblings, was an "independent and caring person".

Radrodro's brother Viliame Katia told the Times his nephew was "always full of life and joy".


The OIA documents say the family had accepted Narube's death and were focused on forgiveness.

But nearly two years later Narube's friends told Vance they were not happy with the state of the investigation or the fact that the diplomat had left the country.

Filly Veikoso, who had been clubbing with Narube and the diplomat on the night Narube fell, said it "totally hurt us that he just left without nothing done".

His friend Anise Koroivuki suggested to Vance the Fijian police had dismissed the case because Narube was poor and gay.

"Even if he's gay, rich or poor - this is someone's life," she said.