FUNGAVAKA Kali Peaua
Constable, New Zealand Police
New Zealand Bravery Medal Special Honours List - 14 October 2006 On 22 August 2005 sometime after 1.00 p.m., a young woman was working alone at the Shell Service Station in Atkinson Avenue, Otahuhu. A man who had recently formed a relationship with her arrived at the station and placed an LPG cylinder outside the front door. He then bought petrol for another person who had taken him to the service station. He walked away from the shop, returning shortly afterwards, collected the gas cylinder and walked inside. He placed the cylinder on the floor at the end of the counter where the woman was working and an argument then ensued between them, which developed into a struggle. The woman tried to run outside but the man, while holding a packet of matches in his hand, blocked her path. He then closed the front doors. A member of the public arrived and saw the doors closed, and witnessed the young woman screaming as she struggled with the offender. She was dragged to the location of the LPG cylinder and, after trying to get away several times, was finally overpowered and pulled back by the hair, at which time she fell backwards into the ice cream refrigerator. She was then forced back to the place where the LPG cylinder was located. At that point, she was engulfed in a ball of flame to the top half of her body, head and face, while the offender received some burns to his face and left hand, before he leapt over the counter to make his escape. The young woman then crawled out of the shop and collapsed on the forecourt outside, with the flames still burning fiercely.
Some passers by, including Kali Peaua FUNGAVAKA, saw what had occurred. Mr FUNGAVAKA wet his jumper under a tap and tried to extinguish the flames that were burning the young woman. When this was unsuccessful, he entered the shop and got a fire extinguisher, which was beside the gas cylinder. This was burning and flames were coming from its nozzle. Using the extinguisher, he was able to extinguish the flames burning the young woman after which he re-entered the shop and extinguished the fire inside, despite the fact that the shop was filling with smoke. The young women subsequently died of multiple burns.
Mr FUNGAVAKA displayed bravery in retrieving the fire extinguisher from the shop in order to attempt to save the life of the young woman. He also extinguished a fire which posed a danger to himself and to five other members of the public who were present by that time.
New Zealand Bravery Medal
Died 23 August 2012, Tonga
FUNGAVAKA was in Tonga for his grandfather's funeral and had been a pallbearer earlier in the day, when he apparently became involved in a brawl with the Tongan officers in a bar in central Nuku'alofa on Friday night (local time). He was then arrested for alleged drunkenness and taken to a police cell shared with four or five others picked up that night. A further alleged assault then happened on FUNGAVAKA in the cell. Local man, Kalisitiane MANU, who was also arrested for drunkenness in a public place that Friday night, has been charged with bodily harm of FUNGAVAKA and will appear in the Tongan Magistrate's Court on Monday (27th). Tongan Police assistant commissioner Viliami 'Unga FA'AOA said a date for the court appearance of the two Tongan police officers had not been set, but it was likely the pair would appear late next week. He said FUNGAVAKA had suffered head injuries and undergone surgery at Vaiola Hospital after being taken there about 5am on Saturday August 18th (local time). He understood FUNGAVAKA had not regained consciousness. Fungavaka's wife Audra and members of his family flew out yesterday to Tonga.