The mother of Halatau Naitoko, the young man who was accidently shot dead by police on an Auckland motorway, is finding the inner strength to move forward with her life at last.
Ivoni, who was offered compensation by police for the killing of her son, says she was torn in accepting what she described as “blood money”.
“Money won’t bring my son back. It’s not about the money, it’s about fair justice.”
It was January 2009 when Ivoni’s life changed forever. Halatau (17) worked as a courier in the family business and was driving down the Northwestern Motorway when he became caught in a shoot-out between police and Stephen McDonald.
The father of a daughter, now six, Halatau was struck in the chest and killed by a bullet intended for drug-fuelled McDonald, who was armed and fleeing police.
Soon after the Weekly article was published, Ivoni was ordained as a minister in her Assembly of God church, and says her new position will allow her to help others.
“It’s a great feeling knowing you can spiritually comfort those in the community.
“When my son died, I felt like I was at the bottom of the ladder, but I picked myself up step by step.”
With some of the money she received from police, Ivoni is planning to start a refuge for those in need – in memory of her son.
“I hope to establish a home for families and children, letting them know that if they need time out, or help, then there is a place for them.”