The young son of a man shot in the head on the side of a South Auckland road has not yet been told his father is dead.

Epalahame Tu'uheava, 28, was found lying dead beside his seriously injured wife Mele Yolanda Tu'uheava, 25, in the early hours of Tuesday morning on Greenwood Rd, Mangere.

Mele suffered a number of gunshot wounds and Epalahame died of a gunshot to the head.

Family spokeswoman Ofa Tuitupou told the Herald the extended family as well as friends were rallying hard to support Yolanda and the couple's primary school-aged son, who is yet to be told his father has died.


"Mele has made it out of surgery - she's going to make it, she's pulled through.''

Tuitupou said it was a difficult time for everyone; particularly Tu'uheava's mother, who has lost her eldest son and child.

"His mum is just ... she's just lost. We are all trying to look after her. She's not in a good place.''

Tuitupou said one of Mele Tu'uheava's requests, on waking up, was that no one see her husband's body until she was able to.

"She wants to make sure that that's her husband. Mel wants to be the first one to see him."

It is understood the couple's young son, who is being looked after by family members, is also due to see his mum in the coming days for the first time since the incident.

Arrangements for Tu'uheava's farewell services are now being made; with plans for family services to be held on Monday and Tuesday. His final funeral service and burial will be held on Wednesday.

Tuitupou acknowledged there had been talk of her nephew being affiliated with gangs, including the Tongan Crips.

Epalahame Tu'uheava - also known as Hame Otablu - featured on a song named Summer Lovin'. Photo / Ladyfats
Epalahame Tu'uheava - also known as Hame Otablu - featured on a song named Summer Lovin'. Photo / Ladyfats

However, reports that gang members from Australia - where the Tu'uheavas had recently moved back from - had travelled to New Zealand to carry out a hit on her nephew had shocked her.

She said Tu'uheava was raised in what she called a typical Tongan family - who attended church every Sunday and were well connected to the local Otahuhu and Mangere communities.

Epalahame Tu'uheava had enjoyed being a part of the church youth group and had had a special passion for music, she said.

That was a passion that would later turn into what could have been a dream career for him; when he and several music friends joined to release a song: Summer Lovin'.

Friend Ladyfats said the song - released about four years ago - was something they had always been proud of. Others on the track are GHost, Naki, Bubu and Tu'uheava, whose artist name was Hame Otablu.

"I'm devastated about what's happened. Hame was very kind and loving. He was just a humble guy and a really good dad and husband. It's just a shock.''

Police continue to hunt those responsible, who they say are two Tongan men - one thought to have a slight hunchback.

Tuitupou said she had a few words for the pair.

"Where is your Tongan motto? We say we are one - we are always one. I can't believe that a brother could do this to another brother."