Seasonal worker laid to rest

By Talaia Mika 06 November 2020, 8:00PM

A seasonal worker from Samoa who died in a car crash in New Zealand last month was laid to rest at Vaimoso on Friday.

Va’a Tino Tagiilima, a father of five children, was working in New Zealand when the van carrying himself and 10 other colleagues was hit by a truck on the Napier-Taupo highway in New Zealand.

His body was returned to Samoa during a repatriation flight and kept at a local funeral parlour until Friday.

Mr. Tagiilima's funeral service was attended by families, friends and some of his seasonal worker colleagues who have been able to come home. He is originally from Lano, Savai'i.

He had been working for Thornhill Viticulture and Horticulture when he died and was on a company holiday as a thank you for working an extra-long contract due to the COVID-19 crisis, having been originally slated to return home at the end of April.

Thornhill Company's senior manager in Samoa, Jason Ulale, said Mr. Tagiilima was a hard worker who will be sorely missed.

"We will always remember him," he said. 

"His life and how he lived for his family will always be remembered. He has taught us so many lessons in life and we thank him for that."

He had first joined the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme in November 2014 and was on his eighth season in New Zealand.

During a previous interview, Mr. Tagiilima's wife, Silila, said her husband was the breadwinner who wanted to do all he could to help their family.

“It was the harshest strike to the heart when the company and Government cars pulled over in front of our house yesterday, telling us our hero is not coming home alive,” she said. 

“His youngest daughter, whom he wasn’t able to meet because I was pregnant by the time he left for seasonal work last year in October, had been dying to meet him just as we were keen to see him."

The Government, through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labour (M.C.I.L.), expressed its deepest condolences to Mr. Tagiilima's family after news of his death late last month was made public.



By Talaia Mika 06 November 2020, 8:00PM

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