Hundreds of people farewelled Jimmy Atilua Fatipule Laulu, the boy from Aleisa who moved to New Zealand with his family recently in search of a better life.
Jimmy’s mother, Fofoga Laulu, delivered an emotional eulogy on behalf of the family at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The three-year-old drowned at Ocean Beach on Christmas Day.
Friends and family had been frantically searching for him for about an hour. Mrs Laulu clutched family members as her son was carried into the church. His small white coffin was covered in flowers, photos and messages of love. Jimmy was remembered as an active, clever and curious little boy in a service delivered in Samoan.
The family had recently moved from Samoa to start a new life in New Zealand.
His mother tearfully spoke about how dearly she would miss her clever little boy and the deep love the family had for him. Mrs Laulu said that her son always looked up to adults and wanted to try everything that they did.
“His cheeky grin will always keep my heart warm.”
Children of the Heretaunga Primary Ward then performed a pese vailauga (rest hymn).
Jimmy’s uncle Simi Laulu said the day was the perfect send off for his nephew.
“It was a beautiful day and the family had lots of support.”
The family would honour Jimmy’s life on the dates marking his birth and death, he said. Jimmy would have turned four on January 11.
“Every year we will celebrate his birthday and also Christmas, we will do everything to remember him.”
The family took solace knowing Jimmy was in a peaceful place.
“He’s in heaven now with the Holy Father looking down on his family. Jimmy will be our guardian angel.”