Family gather to remember Carol Waitohi

By Mātai Rangi Smith
  • Australia

Family held a special prayer service for 50-year-old Carol Waitohi (Tainui / Ngāti Kura), who died whilst out dragon-boating with friends in the Gold Coast  on Thursday evening.

Several Dragon Boat clubs from around the Gold Coast and Brisbane gathered this morning at Currumbin Creek to launch the very boat which Carol Waitohi was steering on the night she passed away.

Karen Boynton - DAGC Club President says, “I don't know anything about the Māori culture but after yesterday and then today it's just amazing, it made me feel at peace.”

For her mum Lorraine, although it is a very difficult time for her and her family, they knew they had to be here to honour her daughter.Lorraine Montgomery (Tainui / Ngāti Kura) says, “Each and every one of the members here today I know individually, they've come with their aroha because she has touched their lives. In some way, she was an organiser, she was a woman of order and of course the katakata, the laughter.”

“Carol started with us quite a number of years ago, I coached her she went from strength to strength.  Became very much a competitive paddler in such a short space of time,” says Faye Rallings - (Ngati Paoa).  

Upon the return of the waka, a circle of remembrance was formed as a way of expressing their grief and love for Carol.

Montgomery says “I can only describe my daughter, in one word and that word would be humility.  The humility yet the drive that she had was I will always remember.”

Tomorrow the family will go to collect Carol, and also hear the findings of the coroner's report. At this time the family are still deciding whether or not Carol will remain here in Australia or be taken back to New Zealand.

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