Drowned league star's family gather for memorial

By Rachel Hart

It is a year to the day since rising Warriors star Sonny Fai drowned off a West Auckland beach.

His family was back at the spot today and gave 3 News the first look at someone new and special.

It has been 12 painful months for his mother, Tausili Fai.

Around 200 family, friends and members of his old club met to say a prayer, and remember.

"It's been pretty hard this year, but just coming out here, it brings back a lot of memories," says Mr Fai's ex-girlfriend, Jenna Frost. "But it's good to come out here today - not only to me, but Sonny's family as well."

Friends have decorated a memorial stone with flowers and mementos of Mr Fai's life - a golf ball, jewellery, taro chips and a jandal.

An inquest found Mr Fai drowned while rescuing his younger brother. His body has never been recovered.

But today was not just a celebration of Mr Fai's life – it was also a chance to welcome a new member of the Fai family, also called Sonny. He was born to Mr Fai's sister just five days ago, and she didn't know she was having a boy.

"I was happy in a way, something to replace my brother, even though I still want him back," she says.

Coincidentally, baby Sonny's due date was today, although he chose to arrive early.

Meanwhile, today the tributes and stories about baby Sonny's uncle continued.

3 News

source: newshub archive