Officer remembered for helping youth
Fri, 24 Aug 2012 1:53p.m.
By Imogen Crispe
There were tears and sadness as police officers fondly remembered their colleague who died in Tonga yesterday.
Constable Kali Fungavak died yesterday after he was arrested on Friday night for drunkenness, then taken to hospital on Saturday morning with injuries from what Tongan police say was an assault. Three people including two Tongan police officers have been arrested in connection with the death.
Today his colleagues at Counties Manukau police station spoke about Const Fungavaka’s passion for helping young people in the community.
Constable Lance Mulu worked closely with Const Fungavaka over the last three years, and thought they were going to be life-long friends.
“It does feel like I’ve lost a family member,” Const Mulu says.
He remembers clearly his first meeting with Const Fungavaka.
“The positive impression Kali made on me was when I first met him. He knew me before I knew who he was, and for me that was a major thing.”
Const Mulu says Const Fungavaka was passionate about helping youth in the community and always asked young people the same question.
“[What] he used to ask was, ‘where do you see yourself in five years from now, do you want to end up like this or do you want to make a life for yourself?’”
Const Fungavaka told Const Mulu he was inspired to help youth after having a rough upbringing in Mangere himself.
“He wanted to make a difference for the people who lived in the area he grew up in.”
He says he enjoyed working with him and was inspired by him.
“It gave me the opportunity to see the passion and love Kali has for most people, especially youth.”
As well as work, the two would talk about their families, as they each had two daughters of similar ages.
“We’d be able to compare stories on how to be a better dad, a better father.”
Const Mulu still can't believe Const Fungavaka is gone.
“It’s really hard for me, I think it’s still quite unreal. It’s quite raw… I think I’m going through a bit of a bad dream and at some point he’s going to be walking through those doors.”
Counties Manukau district commander, superintendent John Tims, also paid his respects to Fungavaka, saying he was a "committed and passionate police officer".
"Today is very much about Kali and the great person that he was.
“We need to celebrate his life. It’s about celebration, it’s about understanding what’s happened, but moving past that, looking at the contribution Kali made to people, the community, the New Zealand Police, Counties Manukau and look at Kali the man, his family.”
Mr Tims says Const Fungavaka had been in the police force for six years and was a member of the neighbourhood policing team. He says he was well liked and well known in the community and was a role model for Pacific people.
“He did a lot of fantastic work with the community.
“Kali will be missed by his colleagues here at New Zealand Police."
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24/08/2012 6:18:55 p.m.
Kali Fungavaka i am so sorry for not looking i know i was'st their but i am so :( if a person did that to me i will punch them on the eye
:( ofa atu
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