Kaupapa: NZ Defence Force - Te Ope Kātua

EXCLUSIVE: Family devastated NZDF unable to repatriate brother’s remains

Talisa Kupenga
  • Te Waipounamu

He whānau e noho taumaha hārukiruki tonu ana i te mōhio, karekau ngā kōiwi o tō rātou matua i roto i te hokinga mai o ngā tūpāpaku rau i Mareia, i Singapore hoki ā tērā wiki. Ko William Anthony Devescovi tētahi o ngā hoia rererangi e toru i mate i te pakanga o Mareia, ā katoa rātou i tanumia ki te rua kotahi. Ko te mate, he uaua te hahu me te whakahoki mai i a ia, ko tōna kotahi.

Ko te hiahia o John Devescovi kia whakahoki mai tōna tuakana a Tony, engari tae mai te karere i tēra wiki e kore e taea.

"It took me a while for it to sink in I guess. It hurt my boy more than anything mainly because he didn't believe they couldn't identify the remains as being Tony and we still don't.”

Ko Devescovi tētahi o nga tokotoru o te ope Tauārangi o Aotearoa i tuku rawa mai i tētahi waka rererangi pēnei ki tēnei ki te waoku o Mareia, i te tau rima tekau mā ono. Tokoiwa ngā tāngata i tē waka rererangi i te wā i tuki ai ki te waoku.

Ko tā te Minita Take Waonga a Ron Mark "the information we have from the forensic team … is that the nature of the way in which the crew died makes it impossible for them to identify them, but we know from the records that the crew were buried together."

I tāpukehia ngā tūpāpaku ki te waahi i tuki ai te waka rererangi ā i tāpuke anō ki tētahi urupā i Kuala Lumpur i te tau rima tekau ma waru. Heoi e ai ki a John i hūnuku anō ngā kōiwi o Tony mai i te urupā.

Ko tā John "[NZDF] said that there was nobody in the grave when they opened it they had to dig further to the side to at least find some of the remains. How they can tell me there is three people in there and not be able to identify them is the part that we consider wrong.

"There will be nothing to visit if anyone wants to go back there other than a headstone with his name on it."

Ko te hiahia o te whanu kia tāpukehia a Tony ki Schnapper Rock ki Northshore ki Tāmaki nā te mōhio koira tētahi tino wāhi ka kite i Te Ope Tauārangi e rere ana. Inaeanei ko te whakatau ka hui ngātahi te whanau kia whakamana i a ia ano.

John says “NZDF have been very supportive. I just think it would have been easier if Tony stayed buried at the crash site then at least we’d know where he was.”

Ko te whakahokinga kōiwi mai i Mareia me Singapore a tēra wiki te wahanga tuarua o ngā whakahokinga e wha i raro i te kaupapa Te Auraki o te Kāwanatanga. Koinei te wā tuatahi i tēnei kaupapa kaore e taea te whakahoki mai ngā kōiwi.