24 Jul 2023

'Very deep sense of sorrow': Community pulls together to support families of shooting victims

10:46 am on 24 July 2023
Flowers laid outside the barriers of an Auckland construction site, on 21 July 2023, the day after the fatal shootings.

Flowers laid outside the barriers of the construction site, the day after the shootings. Photo: RNZ / Charlotte Cook

Offers of help are pouring in for the families of the two men killed by a gunman at an Auckland construction site last week.

Solomona Tootoo from Manurewa, and Tupuga Sipiliano from Wattle Downs have been named as the victims.

The shooter, Matu Tangi Matua Reid, also died.

Eight people were injured in the shooting.

Former Auckland city councillor, Green Party candidate and Pacific Island community advocate Efeso Collins told Morning Report the community was grieving but supporting one another.

"There's a very deep sense of sorrow, loss and maybe there's some questioning at the moment," he said.

"A lot of the people that I go to church with are young fathers who are social workers and youth workers and I think some particular questioning became what else could we have done, how can we continue to support these communities and even the young man who undertook the shootings as well, what are the, I guess, the holes in the community or system that we need to assist and fix and help to facilitate."

Collins said others were really angry.

Churches and marquees had been offered for the families' use, he said.

It was important the community were supporting one another and a lot of people were pulling together to help the families, Collins said.

"This isn't just the men who have been killed but this has an impact on families and we know that everyone wants to pull together to assist because that's how the collective paradigm works, everyone just activates whatever support they can offer and they make sure that that support is offered to the families."

Fa'anana Efeso Collins

Efeso Collins. Photo: Supplied / Efeso Collins

Many older people in the community "look at how we handle the old way of discipline and what was in place for this to happen", he said.

"And then you've got a generation, perhaps my generation and younger who are looking for ways to support, how do we address issues of poverty, isolation, young people who are falling out of the school system and really need us to get beside them.

"We experience tragedy and triumph as a village and the village wants to work out what else can be done to support."

A conversation with public institutions was also needed, he said.

Police at the scene of a serious shooting incident in downtown Auckland on 20 July, 2023.

Police at the scene of the shooting. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Manurewa Local Board chairperson Glenn Murphy echoed Collins' comments.

"They were both good family men with children and there's a lot of support coming around," he told Morning Report.

Family and fanau were travelling to Auckland and requests for additional accommodation, outdoor heating and mattresses was coming in, he said.

"We're rallying together, obviously it came as a great shock but the people of the community have been really supportive, reaching out to me and asking how they can assist.

"It's a tragic time and the wellbeing of our people is of paramount importance so that's really what we're focusing on."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs