April 21, 2012
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Ravaga’s family moved by community support

It’s been almost two weeks but the Wairarapa community has not given up on hope, continuing in the efforts in the search for 22-year-old Eroni Ravaga who went missing off Akitio Beach on Easter Monday while swimming with friends

Ravaga’s parents, sister and brother arrived in Pongaroa on Thursday, after the community rallied to pay for their flights.

His father, Banuve Gaunavou was "lost for words" at the kindness of the community.

Speaking to the Times-Age, his comments being translated by Puketoi coach and former Flying Fijian lock Akuila Matanibukaca, Gaunavou said, "There is nothing we could do to pay anybody back."

"Most of the boys at home don't prosper at school," said Gaunavou. "I knew there was something better for Eroni in sport."

"It's every Fijian boy's dream to come to New Zealand, because New Zealand is just rugby," he said.

"It was Eroni's dream of doing that, and that's why he was here.

Puketoi Rugby Club president Bruce Bowie was pleased to have the family in NZ to help with the search.

"Although we haven't got a body, it's a form of closure for the people involved in the search," said Bowie.

"It's the best thing we could have done."

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