16 Jul 2014

Father farewells son's body at prison

10:03 pm on 16 July 2014

The father of an Opotiki man killed during what is believed to have been a gang fight has had his chance to say farewell to his son at Tongariro/Rangipo Prison.

The 22-year-old was found injured and later died on Sunday after a fight between two groups of people from neighbouring houses.

Joe Collier.

Joe Collier. Photo: Facebook

Mr Collier's body was taken to the central North Island jail where his father is a prisoner. A blessing and farewell was held on Wednesday.

A 34-year-old man appeared at the Rotorua District Court on Wednesday charged with murder, while four men appeared at the Whakatane District Court in connection with ongoing fighting in the small town.

Opotiki District Councillor Barry Howe said he has been speaking with people in the community over the past day and most of them now seem able to move on. However, he said it remains a sad situation for the Collier family and for the town.

Lisa Collier on Tuesday appealed for people to calm down. "These people need to snap out of what they're doing, my brother's gone, our hearts are shattered and he deserves a proper funeral."

The service is expected to take place at a marae on Friday.