Deceased detainee returns home

By Ripeka Timutimu

The body of deceased detainee Rob Peihopa has returned to NZ, but mystery still surrounds his death. His mother, Hera Peihopa spoke to Te Kāea today at his funeral being held at Hoani Waititi Marae.

Hera Peihopa struggles to talk about her son, Rob, while he lies in the wharenui of Hoani Waititi Marae.

“He had a big heart, he was loving, he embraced people, he had a lot of empathy for people that were vulnerable in some way, and he was tuned into others around him.”

Rob Peihopa died in Villawood Detention Centre last Monday. He had been detained for nine months after serving two years for his involvement in a police chase.

“I'm really happy that he.s home. I've got lots of mixed emotions with his whānau around and I'm feeling all their reactions to his death,” says Hera Peihopa.

The cause of his death is unknown, and Hera wants answers.

“I would like the NZ government to push to ensure that whatever happened to my Boy, that things surface, I would like the NZ govt to put pressure on Australia to make sure they get an outcome for her son.“

Hera doesn't want her son's death to be in vain.

“They mean something, our boys mean something to be swept away and forgotten, and I don’t want that to happen.”

The Greens have sent a letter to the Prime Minister over Peihopa's death, but are awaiting a response. In the meantime, Peihopa will be buried on Saturday at Waikaraka cemetery.