The family of Samoan-Kiwi man murdered while on holiday has received a traditional apology from the alleged killer's village.

But Alesana Alex Satele's widow and children still do not know the reason behind the killing.

The 69-year-old's four adult daughters and wife, Sofia Talia, have returned to New Zealand after travelling to Samoa to identify and retrieve their father and husband's body.

The Hamilton resident, who has lived and worked in New Zealand for about 41 years, was one of two men killed in the village of Leulumoega-uta just over a week ago.

Hamilton man Alesana Alex Satele, 69, pictured at the wedding of one of his four daughters. Photo / Supplied
Hamilton man Alesana Alex Satele, 69, pictured at the wedding of one of his four daughters. Photo / Supplied

One of Satele's four daughters told the Herald people from the village of Falefa, where the alleged killer is from, arrived in the early hours of yesterday morning to present what is known as an "ifoga'' - a traditional apology and practice that seeks forgiveness from a victim's family.

"It was very emotional for mum and was something I'd never experienced before.

"They were there before 7am and sat at the back and the front of the fale (large meeting house).

"They were draped in fine mats.''

The daughter, who did not want to be named, said their family was then presented with gifts including meat, fine mats and money.

The exchange took about three-and-a-half hours.

Those participating in the practice sit bowed outside a victim's family home and are covered with fine mats.

If a family chooses to accept the apology, the fine mats are removed.


In ancient times, and on very rare occasions, those involved in an ifoga could be killed on the spot. Other ifoga can last for days.

It came after a memorial service was held for Satele in Samoa late last week.

"We thought it would be nice to have his service on Thursday as he died on Thursday," his daughter said.

Police are yet to release any other information about the circumstances of the killings, but earlier told the family that it was thought money might have been a motive; given Satele's wallet and up to $1000 tala (NZ$657) was missing.

The daughter said they too were still seeking answers about their father's murder.

"[His] daughters, grandchildren and wife are still trying to understand why.''

Satele had been visiting his wife's family property at the time of the incident.

Police found their bodies near an outside kitchen just after 7am (NZT6am) on Friday, November 23, in what officers described as a "horrific'' scene.

A 24-year-old man has since been arrested and is due in court next week.

Satele's funeral will be held next Saturday at the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens chapel in Christchurch at 11am.