Prayer vigil held in memory of Toakase Finau as tributes flow for her husband Viliami Lātū following tragic deaths

The family and kāinga of Toakase Finau, 29, who died after what appears to be a murder suicide in Pukekohe last week have held a prayer vigil at the 7 Teretere Lane, Mt Wellington, Auckland last night.

Toakase Finau (L) and Viliami Latu

The solemn vigil was led by Vunahuo, one of the mātu’a and matāpule of the kāinga, a spokesperson said.

He shared a verse from the Holy Bible Psalm 107 which says: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.”

The family believed Finau was murdered by his estranged husband Viliami Latu, 31, the father of her four children before he attempted to take his own life. He died in hospital two days later.

The family believed the couple’s relationship came to a head in November after Finau obtained the protection order against Latu after suffering extensive violence at his hands. Latu was released on bail in the same month and his attempts to restore his relationship with Finau was unsuccessful.

It is believed he contacted Finau last week wanting to see their children at his court-appointed bail address, his brother’s property in McNally Rd, Pukekohe.

The family alleged that the couple met after Finau arrived and discussed their relationship during which Finau appeared to have declined a suggestion by Latu for them to reunite.

During the vigil the members of the kāinga remembered her as a woman of good character and she cared for her children.

The family believed Police found a note in Latu’s pocket indicating the body of his estranged partner was in the boot of her blue Honda hatchback parked on his brother’s lawn.

Meanwhile, a tribute for Latu was posted on Facebook.

A Facebook user by the name Mele Taufa wrote in Tongan: “I love you Viliami and surprised at the pathway you chose for you and your wife to go though but how about your children they are in a situation where they did not really understand the circumstances surrounding your deaths. I am sorry if I failed in my pastoral role for you.”

A report by Stuff said questions are being raised around a decision to allow a man at the centre of a suspected murder suicide to remain in the community, despite absconding from police while already on bail.

It said Latu also had a history of violence against Finau, and of ignoring a protection order.

He was allowed to remain on bail despite allegedly escaping police custody when officers discovered him breaching release conditions.

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