'I feel like we've been to hell and back': Fau Vake's brothers, John and James

By Te Ao Toa

The two brothers of Fau Vake, who was tragically killed on the streets of Tāmaki Makaurau over a year ago, say they are still coming to terms with their loss. Vake was an elite fighter, who was part of the City Kickboxing gym.

His brothers, John and James Vake, travelled to Perth to fight in the Eternal 68 mixed martial arts competition at the weekend. 

Te Ao Toa spoke to them before they left for the Commonwealth Games, where John represented Tonga in wrestling, about their fight and their beloved brother.

Both say the death of their brother has been difficult to handle.

"It's been rough but I guess the thing I'll take away from that is that it's helped us grow stronger," James. said

"I just feel like, throughout all that experience, I literally don't fear anything. I feel like overcoming that was such a big obstacle that going in there this Saturday and competing is like nothing."

"I feel like there's no pressure going into that. I feel like I've already been through enough pressure as it is," he said.

John said he was grateful for their friends and loved ones who continued to lift them up.

"It's been - to say rough would be an understatement. I feel like we've been to hell and back."

"But if anything, I'm really grateful for my team, people like yourself, my friends, my family, the ones that I love," John said.

"I feel like what happened a year ago, I'm never over it. I feel like every day is still that day. But I just keep the people closest to me around so that I can continue to get bumped up and continue to put my best foot forward."