25 Aug 2012

Tongan leader in NZ wants independent inquiry into death of NZ officer

10:20 am on 25 August 2012

A Tongan community leader based in Auckland has called for an independent inquiry into the death of a New Zealand police officer in Nuku'alofa.

Kali Fungavaka was assaulted in a police cell after he was arrested for a minor drinking charge.

He died in hospital on Thursday night.

The chair of the Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka, believes there are systemic problems within the police force.

He says Tonga's international image will be tainted unless the Government calls an inquiry into the police's handling of Mr Fungavaka's death.

"Seems like the Tongan police have had their own culture for a long time and I think having an inquiry by an independent body will get to the bottom of this."

Melino Maka.

Three men have appeared in a Tongan court in connection with Kali Fungavaka's death.