“We regret it”: Tongan Fruitpickers sent back for AWOL
AUCKLAND, New Zealand-April 21: (Tonganow Online): “We really regret it”, Tongan absconders say before being put on flight back home this afternoon.
The hunt for two Tongan seasonal workers who absconded from Hastings on Monday has ended this morning with a decision that they have to return home straight away.
Sitiveni Junior Uasi and Atonio Patua Kulitapa went AWOL on Monday night in a vehicle belonging to their employer, Mr Apple.
They were found this morning at a home in Manurwewa, South Auckland.
After a meeting at the Tom Pearce Dr’s McDonald, Auckland Airport, at about 1pm today the duo were told that they have to board the Air New Zealand evening flight to Tonga.
The meeting was attended by Mr Apple’s Labour Manager Alistair Jamieson, Tongan government Liaison Officer Sefita Hao’uli, Tongan RSE coordinator in Hawkes Bay Tevita Niulata, four RSE Tongan group leaders, Uasi and Kulitapa.
“I regret it. It was a big mistake I made”, Kulitapa told Kaniva News outside at the McDonald.
Uasi agreed and said he wished they had another chance.
Asked what was the motive for their disappearance Kulitapa said it just because they were drunk.
“The opportunity has gone”, he said in Tongan.
Group leader Sifa Havili said they found Kulitapa and Uasi without any incidents but they spent almost two days in looking for the company’s van.
He said the problem was that the duo were unfamiliar with Auckland and they could not recall the location where they left it after the van ran out of gas
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