My brother didn't deserve to die

Piri Phillips was stabbed and killed in Perth last week.

The sister of Piri Phillips, who was stabbed and killed in Perth last week, says her brother moved to Australia from Taumarunui for better opportunities. Now his whānau is devastated and have been waiting for a week for his body to return to Aotearoa.

Phillips (Tuwharetoa/Te Arawa) was stabbed in the chest and back in an unprovoked attack outside a Perth church last Tuesday and died shortly after in hospital. Perth man Travis Robinson (37), has appeared in court and has been charged with Phillip's death.

The 20-year-old’s sister Marie Purea of Hamilton, says she spoke with her brother over the phone two weeks ago and the siblings were looking forward to catching up in person.

“Finding out the devastating news was a huge shock. I haven't seen Piri for the last three years or so since he moved over to Aussie. He moved there for better opportunities - or so we thought,” Purea told Māori Television.

She describes her brother as a much-loved member of their family who loved to fish and hunt.

“He was always jamming on his guitar, singing out loud and making us laugh. I don't want to believe this has happened. He didn't deserve this,” she says.

Phillips’ whanau have been working tirelessly to bring his body back to Aotearoa. A family friend in Perth has organised an online fundraising page to help with the costs of bringing Phillips home. It has already raised more than $5,000.  

Purea says they are hoping her brother’s body will be returned by Friday and he is likely to be taken to Ngapuwaiwaha marae in Taumarunui.

To donate to Piri’s fundraising page visit