Lomu is honoured in Tonga

Lomu is honoured in Tonga

The Tongan community will honour Jonah Lomu at a south Auckland church he attended as a child.

The first public memorial service will be held at the Tongan Methodist church in Mangere at 6pm tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, in Tonga special prayer services have already been held, while his sporting peers honoured him their own way.

For a minute they stood, arm in arm, in silence for a man they'd never met but had long idolised.

"I think he was like Superman. He does something that we don't usually, like the human being does," says rugby league player John Moeakiola.

Lomu was honoured aptly at Tonga's rugby league finals day. It was a game he loved.

He played it growing up and came so close to switching back to it during the height of his rugby career.

The players in Tonga said he could have done both easily.

"I think if he had of played both he would have succeeded both. He was a beast man," says Mr Moekiola.

Around the corner, a few hundred metres from the stadium, Lomu's family had gathered for a special service to share a song, a prayer, a memory, which of course included playing with and against Jonah in rugby.

"He was very fast; he was very speedy. We cannot tackle him," says Dunedin Lomu.

"When Jonah used his talent for rugby, he promoted us, and also the name of Lomu, in the world. That is why we are happy," says Pongipongi Lomu.

The wife of the late Tongan prince joined the family to pay her condolences. She described Lomu as a good man, the perfect role model.

Some of his family now plan to fly to Auckland for his funeral.

Tomorrow morning church leaders in Tonga will pause for a minute's silence at services around the country, while in Auckland the Tongan community will hold the first public memorial service for Lomu.

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