Taranaki man Maioha Tokotaua moved to Australia to confront his traumatic past- only to have his husband suffer from a horrific incident that has left him in a critical condition.
Tokotaua (33) found Joth Wilson’s (25) battered and unconscious body under a train bridge in Gladstone, Brisbane on New Year’s morning after Wilson didn’t return home from buying cigarettes.
Suffering from a broken neck, back, ribs and burns to nearly half his body, Tokotaua suspects Wilson's injuries were sustained from a “gay hate crime”. But since reports of the incident have surfaced, Queensland Police have said they are not pursuing Tokotaua's version of events. Media have reported Wilson was involved in a separate incident on Boxing Day, in which he climbed onto the roof of a stadium until he was talked down by police.
Tokotaua has been by Wilson's bedside for the last five days and is distraught.
“My heart is real mamae (hurting) at the moment,” he told Māori Television. “He is my most favourite person in the world. I should have protected him.”
Tokotaua says the pair, who married in 2014, moved to Australia from Taranaki for an “extended holiday” two years ago. The main focus for their move was to help Tokotaua confront and heal from painful experiences he endured while living in Australia as a youngster.
“I come here to settle some of my childhood stuff,” he says.
As a teenager, Tokotaua moved to Rockhampton, Australia from Taranaki with his family. His best friend was Natasha Ryan, who made world headlines when she disappeared in 1998, only to turn up alive and well while serial killer Leonard Fraser was on trial for her murder.
Natasha later revealed she had been hiding in a boyfriend's cupboard for four years. But until Fraser was charged with Ryan’s death, it was Tokotaua, the last person to see her alive, who was under suspicion. At one point he was even arrested for her murder.
The saga took a bizarre turn when Tokotaua revealed in a magazine interview in 2008 that before Ryan went missing, she had witnessed Fraser drug him so another man could rape him, an experience he believed contributed to Ryan going into hiding.
“Something was holding me back from really succeeding from anything that I did. I came back to finish off the hara (bad stuff), so I wasn’t carrying any of that anymore,” he says.
Tokotaua says his husband’s ordeal is another traumatic event that he’s been forced to deal with.
“This is my life in Australia. It’s drama filled. I’ve never copped a break over here,” he says.
Wilson, who is originally from Palmerston North, received burns to 40 percent of his body, suffered a brain haemorrhage and a severed spinal cord. Tokotaua says it’s likely his husband will become a paraplegic.
“Our next step is to get him well enough to get him transferred home to New Zealand,”
Although Wilson has been taken off life support, he’s still in critical condition. Queensland Police are currently investigating the incident and are waiting to talk to Wilson.