$16k fundraised for Shannon Tana to be returned home to Ngunguru

By D'Angelo Martin

Whangārei man Shannon Tana died in a motorcycle crash on Saturday in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.  15 years ago Tana decided to move to Australia to forge a new life for his whānau, now they need help to return him to Ngunguru.

Shannon's sister Sharlaine says, "He was just such an awesome man my brother, he was just wonderful."

Tana was riding his Harley Davidson in Somerville at 5.40pm Saturday when the crash involving a Volkswagon Amarok occurred.  Tana was taken to Kalgoorlie Hospital but died of his injuries. 

He was co-owner of the Anytime Fitness gym franchise in Kalgoorlie. 

Tana was described by those who knew him well as a lovable, gentle giant who would go out of his way to help others.  Tributes to him are flowing on Facebook posts about his death.

The whānau needed $9,000 to bring his body back to Ngunguru and sought financial support from the public. 

$16,000 was donated just under three days for Tana to be returned home and a Kalgoorlie Domino's Pizza franchise is pitching in, donating $3 from every pizza sold this Friday. 

"Words can't really describe the feeling, how it feels, it's just so overwhelming and it's amazing how people come together, it's a really strong support network," says Sharlaine.

Rachel Manafui, who is Tana's first cousin, says, "That will get Shannon home, all the funeral ... and the flight for Shan".

His body is still with the coroner and the whānau say he should be released on Friday.

Tana and his relatives all grew up together at their homestead in Ngunguru, he was a family man but had an interest in motorbikes and fitness.

"It's my honor and privilege to be doing all of this for Shan, it goes without saying, I'll do anything for Shan.  It's like all of our cousins, we will do anything for each other, we're so close. He was like my brother," says Manafui.

"I just want to say that I love my brother and I'm glad that he's coming home."

Tana will be flown into Aotearoa at 5:30am on Saturday morning, the whānau are looking to have his tangi on Monday in Ngunguru.