Slain former detective laid to rest
A former detective killed in Hawaii has been laid to rest at the Manukau Memorial Gardens.
Joshua Liava’a, 66, was farewelled at the weekend by family members and the community in Onehunga.
His son, Glen Innes health worker Joseph Liava’a, says a po, or Tongan wake, was held at a Mormon church on Captain Springs Rd on Friday night.
The funeral was held on Saturday morning at the same location.
Joseph says his family holds no ill-will towards the relative accused of his father’s murder.
Honolulu police have charged 18-year-old Samuela Mataele with second-degree murder, news website Kaniva Pacific reports. Joshua Liava’a died on June 15. Joseph returned from Hawaii last week. His father’s body was returned to New Zealand two days later. Joshua Liava’a was believed to be the first Pacific Island detective senior sergeant in New Zealand.
He was based at the central Auckland police station during the 1970s through to the mid-1980s.
‘‘There weren’t that many Pacific Island people in New Zealand at that time,’’ Joseph says.
He says his father had a great memory. He could remember specific details about people he worked with during his time with the police.
Joshua Liava’a, of Mangere, was a well-respected rugby league player. He played for both NZ Kiwis and NZ Maori teams – the latter for five years despite having no Maori heritage, Joseph says.
Joshua Liava’a moved to New Zealand in 1966 on a Tongan government scholarship for high school students. He attended Auckland Grammar, as did three of his sons.
Joshua Liava’a had retired and moved to the United States three years ago. He leaves behind wife Victoria. Joseph says his father was a loving man, ‘‘always looking for any excuse to help anyone’’.