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Fiji Time: 4:31 AM on Thursday 17 April

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Grace recovers to bury mother

Maciu Malo
Saturday, December 28, 2013

FIVE-YEAR-OLD Grace Patolo was hospitalised last week along with two of her sisters in an incident that resulted in the death of her mother and baby sister.

Yesterday, she joined her family and a crowd of mourners that had gathered at Viseisei Village in Lautoka for the funeral service of two people she loved dearly.

Her twin Fisi and three-year-old sister Ana are still in critical condition at the Lautoka Hospital.

The funeral drew people from all walks of life and the rituals were a blend of Fijian and Tongan cultures.

Taukei Sawaieke Ratu Tevita Momoedonu said the funeral service was organised using Tongan and Vuda traditions.

"Members of my clan agreed with the people of Tonga that we will mix the Tongan tradition and Vuda during the funeral," he said.

"One of Vuda traditions is to carry the casket around the chiefly compound as a last sign of respect.

"Also another part of our tradition is for the relatives to walk underneath the casket which is carried by pallbearers."

Ratu Tevita has maternal ties in Tonga.

He said he wanted to assist the family because the alleged murder happened on his land.

"In fact I also have Tongan blood through my grandmother Sulueti Halaapiapi," he said.

"I am a descendant of a Tongan lady and I am dutybound to do this which is why I offered to have the mother and the daughter buried at our family burial ground which is near the chiefly burial ground."