Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tongan Burial Custom

Shooting victim in uniform one last time  
4:00AM Thursday Jan 29, 2009

By Beck Vass Nz Herald

Halatau was the innocent victim of the Motorway shooting:  He died in the crossfire as police shot at a man who had led them on a high speed pursuit from west Auckland. Halatau left behind a sixteen year old  fiancee, Stephanie Cook whose twins are due any time, and a two year old child.

More than 1000 mourners - including Police Commissioner Howard Broad and Manukau Mayor Len Brown - are expected to attend, with Police Minister Judith Collins.

Halatau Naitoko will be buried tomorrow (Friday) wearing a driver's uniform so he can begin work when he gets to the other side, his family says.

Family spokesman Peter Sykes said yesterday that colleagues of the hard-working teen had come to pay their respects, bringing courier uniforms for him to be buried with - one of which he would be wearing.

"I think he's got about three uniforms so when he gets to the other end of the journey he'll get straight into work."

Mr Naitoko was also given T-shirts by his friends so he could take the "street story" with him, 

Between 600 and 1000 people have been visiting the family's Mangere home each day.

Mr Naitoko's mother Ivoni Fuimaono is hopeful that the son she was due to give birth to - who will be named after his brother - would arrive after the funeral. "We don't have any control over that," Mr Sykes said.

A traditional Tongan funeral service for the family will get under way tonight, followed by a public funeral at the family home at 10am tomorrow. A burial service at Mangere Lawn Cemetery will follow.

***Photo from NZ Herald***

I find this a very interesting custom about the clothes Halatau is buried in. The Chinese cut holes in the pockets of the clothes of the deceased. They are either buried with him, or burnt for him. These are for him to wear in the other world. The cutting is supposed to prevent him from bringing his money to the other world, and leaving nothing to the bereaved family.

I am also curious about Halatau's Tongan custom of his courier clothes. The Chinese would bury the deceased in their finest clothes. My GreatDad had a special Ching Dynasty Royal official clothes made for his last journey. Supposedly, he would be a High official in his next life.

When my Dad died, he had so much clothes left behind. We are Christians and do not believe in burning his clothes or cutting holes in his suit and pants pockets My brother-in-law Kallang offered to take them to his Kelabit people in the Bario Highlands. There was no point of sending them to the Salvation Army, even if there was one in Kuching. Chinese people don't want to want dead men's clothes. There is no market for them.


Reader Wil said...

Well this is a very interesting post about these burial custom. This could be used for "that's My World"on Tuesday. When my husband died he was dressed in the suit he wore on Sundays in church. In his pockets were still the programmes of special services. We left them there.
I am sorry for the relatives of Halatau, who had to die so young. It's horrible!
Thank you for your kind comment. Well, I am not a heroine, just some child at the time, who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Your parents must have had a difficult time in the war.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Dear Wil,

Is Wil short for Willemena? I go to a Bible Study at Willem's house. he is from Holland. My association with Holland goes back a long way. The Roman catholic priest in Sibu, Sarawak were Dutch. We used to call our priest father VOGAN NA. Of course, that is not his proper name, but being Chinese children, we couldn't pronounce his name right, and he didn't mind.

The above is a post I did on my mum. She was 12 when the War started, and she had to be married at 16. She used to tell us the altrosities of the war.

May be the Paradise Road fictitionalised the Children and Women in Indonesia too much. Bt I took my kids to watch it. A slice of History.

Do you remember how you survived at that tme? eating egg shells?

In Singapore, later there was the Maria Hertogh who sparked the racial riots. I was very interested too. Do you know her story? Very interesting. More so, than Hollywood.