Friday, December 31, 2010

Death on Mayoral Drive in 1995

Road works on Mayoral Drive meant that my preferred stop at the back of the Central Library was blocked off yesterday. Ah well, there's always the next stop ... so, alighting there, and crossing the road carefully, I started to head for the next crossing and Lorne Street. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a plaque in the footpath.

"Benjamin Halaholo, born on 31st March 1979, tragically taken from this spot on the 21st December 1995. So dearly loved and dearly missed, Love you always, Family and Friends."

Benjamin Halaholo, aged 16, had been drinking with other youths at the Globe Hotel, but left around 2 am, headed for the corner of Wakefield Street and Mayoral Drive, and began brawling. After the fight, Halaholo was seen lying on the ground, suffering from head injuries. The police couldn't locate a weapon, but it appeared that he had been struck several times. Eight youths appeared in court that afternoon. In the new year, according to this site:
Filise Mafi, aged 20, student; Francis Tapusoa, 20, storeman; Asani Matulino, 22, process worker; Tony Oscar Johansson, 20, word processor all of Otara, were each sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment. A 19-year-old builder’s labourer, Nicholas Gregory Kisina, also of Otara, received a jail sentence of three and a half years.

William Logan Johansson, 19, unemployed of Otara, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment suspended for two years and 10 months periodic detention; and a 21-year-old Onehunga solo mother, Tapaita Stephanie Sinisa, received six months’ jail suspended for 18 months and for months’ periodic detention. The eighth person, Latuata Benjamin Anae, 19, student, of Papatoetoe, was convicted and discharged on a charge of common assault.

Mafi, Kisina, Matulino, the Johansson brothers and Tapusoa had pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter. Sinisa admitted a charge of assaulting Benjamin Halaholo with intent to injure. Tears flowed among the families of the prisoners and relatives of Benjamin Halaholo as the sentences were given.

Justice Elias said the incident was a double tragedy.
Four weeks before his death, Halaholo had signed a contract with the Warriors to play in the Superleague Under-17 competition. He had played for the Marist Rugby League Club since 1990, and belonged to the Roskill South Athletics Club for four years.
Mr Ross Lipscombe, the secretary manager for both clubs, said last night that Benjamin had outstanding potential in both sports. "He had amazing potential. He was the best prospect I have seen as an athlete."

(NZ Herald, 22 December 1995)

This year, on the 21st December, his family and friends marked the 15th anniversary of his death by placing a notice in the NZ Herald. He would have been 31 this year. There is an image of his gravestone at North Shore Memorial Cemetery here.

Additional: William Johansson, one of those convicted of Halaholo's death, features on this Te Ara page on killers who kill again:
In 2002 [Johansson] masterminded a robbery spree in Auckland during which pizza worker Marcus Doig and bank teller John Vaughan were fatally shot. Convicted of murder, Johansson was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 23-year minimum sentence. 
Update: Sandy has been very kind in providing links to close-up of her Flickr image of the headstone as linked above -- close up 1 and close up 2. Cheers, Sandy!


  1. How sad, a life full of promise wasted like that :(

  2. I agree, Jayne. The poor family and his friends.

  3. OMGG Lisa you're not going to believe this but i took a photo of his grave in March last year!

    Headstone photo

    Headstone ceramic photo

    Another headstone ceramic photo

    I wondered why his photo always seemed to get a lot of hits!


  4. Heh! Check out the post again, Sandy -- I put a link to your main Flickr image in there! :-)

    Thanks for the links to the close-ups -- I'll pop them into the main body of the post. Cheers!

  5. ohhh well the links didn't show for some reason when i first saw the post! I've refreshed and they are there i feel like a dork LOL


  6. No, no, that was my fault. It was just about the last bit of the new design I had to tinker with -- once I realised the link colour was wrong, I just changed it.

  7. hmmm just noticed... he would have been 31 in March and only dead 15 years not 31 years in December. Something is amiss in that paragraph ;-)


  8. Yup, you spotted it. Thanks, Sandy. I got tangled up with where they put in his death notice that he would have been 31 on this year's anniversary of the killing -- had he still been alive. Cheers!

  9. No probs.. delete the superfluous comments if you want LOL... i know what it's like writing screeds of stuff and then spotting errors...right pain innit!


  10. Nah, I'll leave the comments where they are. Shows the inner workings/slight stuff ups of a history blog, eh? ;-)

  11. Good thinking 99 :-)

    If you were here i'd pour you a red for efforts well done this year!

    Happy New Year Lisa!


  12. Absolutely the same to you too, Sandy. Thanks for all your comments and input over the year! :-)

  13. dis z mai quote,, ''Ofa Ke lahi 'he a'honi na'a puli'a apogi'pogi''

  14. I hope you don't mind, Anonymous, but I asked a friend today for a translation.

    "Have much love today or it goes missing tomorrow."

    Thank you very much for your comment.


  16. RIP homie your story still floats around St Pauls braz!!!!!

    1. bro did Benji go paulo ?
      I knew the killers, few of them from Lasalle aye?

  17. He attended Mt Roskill Grammar. One of the fastest boys we ever had before moving to St Pauls. RIP Ben. Sad ending to this young boy. May his passing be a reminder to all the young ones who want to pursue their careers stay home and avoid going out. Reap success when you are at the top.