In one of the last photos taken of Ben Tekira his broad smile and loving nature was evident, not long after he fell victim to the Mōtu river.
According to Timi Tuwairua who helped raise Tekira, the entire family and entire valley of Waimana is in complete shock over his sudden death. According to his adopted younger brother, Tekira was the kind of person that was strong and tough and he assumed he was the kind of person that would out last everyone.
At midday yesterday afternoon Tekira and some of his younger brothers went fishing at the mouth of the Mōtu river, a leisure that this family is very familiar with. Timi Tuwairua says Tekira was surprised to see someone who had crossed the river to fish so he decided to cross as well. The fishing crew says Tekira was just a metre from making it to the other side when he went under and never surfaced. Emergency services were called at 4pm and his body was located around 8pm that night.
Timi Tuwairua says the family was waiting as emergency crews searched and all of them went running towards the water when he was finally located and bought ashore.
Due to fear and distress Tekira’s fishing crew declined to speak with us at this time.
Despite the tragedy and sorrow the one solace for the family is that they have located Tekira and will be able to return him home to rest. Cornellius Wallace says the main thing for them was being able to take him home.
The body will be returned to the family from the coroner in Hamilton and the funeral where his five children and the rest of his family will be held at Piripari Marae in Waimana.
Reporter: Kereama Wright