Vigil held for killed teen Dimetrius Pairama - 'It does break your heart'

6:35 am on 21 September 2019

Warning: This story includes disturbing content.

South Auckland residents say they are heartbroken after hearing details of how a local teenage girl died in an empty state house last year.

Dimetrius Pairama vigil

A vigil for Dimetrius Pairama was held in South Auckland last night. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

Ashley Shane Winter, 29, and Kerry Te Amo, 26, have been on trial in the High Court at Auckland accused of murdering 17-year-old Dimetrius Pairama.

The court has heard how she was beaten, stripped naked, burnt and then asked how she wanted to die before being hanged in a Māngere state house.

About 50 people met at Centre Park yesterday evening to light candles, sing waiata and write messages of support to Miss Pairama's family.

Co-organiser of the event, Justin Latif, said it was important to remember Miss Pairama's life.

"We wanted to ... just respond and show the family and show everyone involved that we as a community see you," he said.

"We just wanted to show our concern and awhi after what was a really terrible thing."

Mr Latif is a father of two young daughters and said hearing what happened to Miss Pairama left a deep impact on him.

"It does break your heart and you know that as a parent you can only do so much for your girls and your kids, the whole cliche of it takes a village to raise a child is so true," he said.

Vigil for Dimetrius Pairama.

Messages chalked onto the concrete at Miss Pairama's vigil. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

Mr Latif's wife, Joanne Latif, said the vigil was a time to mourn as a community.

"We felt there was a need to come together... and grieve together in solidarity and to recognise that each young person in our community is very valuable and make time to remember those who we lose," she said.

A lifelong resident of Māngere, Carmen Manuel, said they needed to come together as a community to support their youth.

"This is an awesome place, I've done all right here, I love this place," she said.

"I want [my kids] to see that ... there are great opportunities here, we just need to support each other and keep an eye on our tamariki because they're all our tamariki."

"In Te Ao Māori, we looked after each other like a village and that's no different to Māngere."

Some members of Dimetrius Pairama's whānau were also at the vigil.