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Fiji girl dies in NZ

Nanise Loanakadavu
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DEEPIKA Kumar, 18, was due to return to the country today to prepare for her first year as a journalism student at uni.

Sadly, she will not see her dreams fulfilled or her potential realised.

Her body was discovered at the bottom of a motel swimming pool in Hamilton, New Zealand over the weekend.

Deepika, who lived at the St Christopher's Home in Nakasi, left for Wellington on September 7 last year to observe how the Communication Department of the Anglican Board of Mission in Wellington worked and to attend the Parachute Festival, an Anglican Christian Youth camp in Waikato.

Reverend Winston Tarere of the Anglican Church of the Diocese of Polynesia said CPR was conducted on her when she was retrieved from the water.

He said she was rushed to the Waikato Hospital, was in a critical condition and put on life support until Sunday.

Mr Tarere said on Sunday night around 9pm local time, upon doctor's advice, the life support system was switched off and she was pronounced dead 15 minutes later.

Mr Tarere said her untimely passing had brought about great sadness but also unity and co-operation within the whole Diocese of Polynesia.

In 2012, this newspaper published a story about her after she won an essay competition organised by the New Zealand High Commission and Fiji Association in Auckland (Inc).

"Deepika was a kind and loving person, who was one of the older girls at the Home," Mr Tarere said.

"She cared deeply for her little sisters and brothers at the St. Christopher's Home.

"If I can describe her in one word, it would be 'goofy'. She was bright and was the runner-up dux for Form Seven last year at Nakasi High.

"It is the church's wish that her body be brought back home for burial."

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