Man killed on his way to join family
It was Gamini Vithanage’s last day in the Waikato.
The Hamilton man was planning to follow his family to Dunedin, where his youngest daughter had got into university, but he was killed in a crash not far from Putaruru, at the start of his trip south on Thursday last week.
Minutes earlier, he had been saying goodbye to a Putaruru mate.
And it would be that same mate, a volunteer firefighter, who would be one of the first on the scene.
‘‘It’s a really unbelievable thing that has happened,’’ said family spokeswoman Chandani Jinadasa, who is president of the Sri Lanka Friendship Society Waikato.
Vithanage, 56, was an active member of the society and well loved, she said.
He was meant to be starting a long journey on the day he died - all the way to Dunedin.
His younger daughter, Nadiru, had been accepted to Otago University.
‘‘That was [the parents’] biggest hope,’’ Jinadasa said.
‘‘They wanted her to be a medical practitioner.’’
Vithanage’s wife, Janitha , had moved to Dunedin, as had elder daughter Sandaru. Sandaru was transferring her science degree study to Otago from Waikato.
Story continued P7