Simeki whānau finally lay brave son to rest

updated By Tepara Koti
TJ Simeki - Photo/Supplied

A serene final resting place close to home for the young Niuean-Māori man who dared to tackle the fierce Bali Sea to save his girlfriend.

Whānau and friends gathered yesterday to finally lay Temson Mannie Junior Simeki to rest at a beautiful spot at Schnapper's Rock in Auckland.

It was clear to see that Temson Junior, affectionately known as TJ, was adored by many.  Those at the funeral were moved by waiata, haka and a Niuean takalo (haka) performed by family members and friends.

The news of TJ's fatal incident at Angel's Billabong (Nusa Penida) in Bali on March 21 rocked the worlds of his dad Temson Simeki Snr (Tuapa, Niue), mum Minnie Simeki (Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Toa), and his siblings.

International news alerted of a Kiwi man missing at sea, the Simeki whānau devastated to hear that the man was indeed their son.

It took nine days before TJ would return to Aotearoa from Bali, without Ms Hafke.

TJ and Ms Hafke met some time ago when they worked together at The Riverhead Tavern in northwest Auckland.  

Together, they had planned to travel Southeast Asia.  

Whilst sightseeing alongside other travellers at Angel's Billabong, Ms Hafke was knocked into the sea by a freak wave and despite the evident danger, TJ jumped in to save her.  He disappeared.

Four hours later, Ms Hafke was found in a critical condition while TJ was still missing at sea.

Family flew from Auckland to Bali the next day (March 22) to join in the search for TJ, his body was found three days later by local fishermen and authorities contacted the family.

TJ's brother Cruz Simeki had set up a Givealittle page asking for help to bring his brother home.  While TJ's trip was originally covered by travel insurance, Cruz stated on the page that the insurance had expired.

TJ returned home to Auckland on Saturday 1 April.  Sister April Simeki said that Ms Hafke was unable to attend the funeral as she was in hospital in Singapore for surgery.  She is currently being comforted by her family.

The Simeki whānau would like to sincerely thank everyone for the outpouring of support they have received during this difficult time.  They say TJ will always be remembered as a blessing in their lives and are grateful that he touched so many hearts.