It moved grown men to tears, the hardest of hard including Ruben Wiki shed tears for Sonny Fai as the packed memorial in New Zealand yesterday came together to celebrate and remember the life of the talented and respected young man.
Wiki, a mentor with the senior members of the NZ Warriors squad to Fai paid a moving tribute to Fai – the missing Warriors star was never found after assisting his family to safety in rough waters at Bethells Beach in January.
Almost 1000 people packed into the Samoan Methodist Church in Otahuhu in Auckland to pay their respects to the missing Fai.
The entire NZ Warriors squad as expected, turned out in support of their fallen mate – the 3-hour service moving most to tears as they heard stories from Sonny Fai’s life.
Sonny’s girlfriend Jenna Frost spoke freely about her missing man, Warriors teammate Jerome Ropati did the same and so did NRL players Nigel Vagana and Frank Paul.
New Zealand Idol winner – and Fai’s cousin – Rosita Vai and R’n’B band Adeaze also performed for the large crowd at the service.
Wiki comforted those who were with Fai when he drowned, asking them to remain strong. Wiki also asked his Warriors teammates to remember Sonny, especially when things get tough during 2009 and beyond.
Fai’s agent Peter Brown, who had been with the 20 yr old since he was 14, said the Warriors, Auckland and New Zealand had lost a great person.
“I am not a religious person but if Sonny is looking down on us I want to say ‘miss you mate’.
“The community has lost a real role model, I just hope you are at peace.”