The family wishes to extend deep gratitude to all, for the prayers, support, comforting messages, calls, flowers, cards and gifts during this time of bereavement.
The family would like to extend a warm welcome to Viliami’s friends and family that would like to attend an Family and Friends Memorial service to celebrate his life, the service of order is designed so that his friends and family can pay tribute to him to be held at the following details below.
Date: 9 March 2023
Venue: Rivercourt Methodist Church, King street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9JT
Viliami’s arrival: 4pm to allow friends and family to spend time with him before the service starts.
Service starts: 6pm till 7:30 (8pm max)
Followed by a light supper before you leave.
Viliami will remain at the Rivercourt Methodist church overnight to allow friends and family to spend time with him before the crematorium service the next day. On Friday morning 10th of March 2023, Viliami will be picked up at 9am and will be escorted to the Mortlake crematorium.
Details for the crematorium service details is available on this memorial page and following the crematorium service the Tongan community would like to invite you all back to the Rivercourt Methodist church for lunch.
Viliami Tavake also known to his friends as ‘Vili’ passed away unexpectedly whilst asleep at age 45 on February 9, 2023 at his home address in Wallington in The London borough of Sutton. The cause of his death is yet to be determined.
Vili was born on June 3, 1977 in Nuku’alofa and he lived and grew up in Sopu’O Taufa’Ahau from the friendly island called Tonga and also known as ‘Sopu Sharks’ named after the Sopu Rugby League Team. He is survived by his mother Kaloni Lehauli (Tonga) and his brother’s Siosiua Tavake (NZ), Kali Tavake (USA), and half brother’s Tu’uta Lehauli (AUS) and Chris Tavake(Tonga). Vili leaves behind a devoted wife Tupuna Mitchell-Tavake also known to many as ‘Puna’ and youngest child Malieta (6 years). Vili also had 4 other children, his oldest son, Tevita (23), followed by second son Pa’ula (20) then his oldest daughter Arahia (19) and daughter Laeva (17) and step son Mitch (30) and lastly Godsons Sonu’u and Moses Halaufia.
Vili is preceded in death by his late grandparents Viliami Tavake (Tonga) and Tapaita Tavake (NZ), his late father Tevita Tavake (Tonga) and brother Ate Tavake (Tonga).
Vili left Tonga with the support of his Uncle Tonga Tavake when he was 24 years in pursuit of employment opportunities and the dream to bring each of his siblings to NZ to improve their livelihoods. Whilst in NZ Vili certainly took advantage of exploring the beautiful sights and as a result of that he had two families producing four beautiful children. Vili then met Puna 17 years ago in Rotorua, NZ and together with his step son Mitch they both moved to London arriving 11th March 2009. On the 21st of March 2016 Vili and Puna finally married at the Lambeth Registry office in London before their first child together was born on the 9th of April 2016, their daughter Malieta brought so much joy to Vili’s life after trying for 10 years. It was one of Vili’s greatest moments in his life to finally be able to have a child with his devoted wife.
Vili was a devoted husband and loved his wife immensely, he held her in high regard and respected their marriage, he protected her from the cold to the spiders and from being afraid to being anxious, he was her Brave, Loving Giant Teddy Bear. Vili was also a good father to all his children and step son, he made the painful decision to move to London leaving his four children behind to live with their mothers so that he can focus on becoming a better man, he aspired to be the Greatest Dad to his children and committed to being a devoted husband to his wife.
Vili was very close to his youngest daughter Malieta, he became her primary carer during the 6 years they were together, the bond between them was one that could not be broken, Malieta had a special place in his heart because she was his youngest rainbow child as well, she is diagnosed with Autism and her special needs showed him her vulnerability which taught him to be patient, sensitive and understanding of her needs, he attended Autism training and all of Malieta’s school parent meetings. He was extra protective of her and prioritised her safety and wellbeing, his commitment to his relationship with Malieta was incredibly unbreakable, he was Malieta’s very own bodyguard and McDonalds friend.
Vili had relationships with all his children from when they were born and although he left to live in London, he continued to keep contact with them, watching them grow up and religiously called them regularly, leaving messages, video calls and never missed sending special occasion messages. He loved all his children, Vili was very strong to uphold the relationship he had with each of his children, he focused on them and their wellbeing and only wanted to love and do what was best for them.
Vili was an exceptional security guard having worked in the industry for more then 20 years in various places in NZ and in London. Vili attended Westminster University to complete his security training when he first arrived to London, a Tongan man that’s come from a country where there are no trains, no traffic lights to underground trains, huge connecting train stations, public transport that is so overwhelming and on top of this English being his second language, Regardless of the odds against him he achieved a 3 day training course and passed with his full Security Industry Authority license and this was the beginning of the next level of his profession.
Vili was regarded by the many colleagues he worked with as someone they felt safe working with, a serious security guard, fair and professional, he was also a happy and smiley man, with integrity to his job, he regularly talked about his wife and children especially Malieta with compassion and they all know how he loved his family and prioritized their wellbeing first. He is described as a ‘no nonsense man’ and a kind and caring man. His presence appeared very intimidating but his deep voice very soothing and confident, he liked to dress smart for work and to look his best. His Managers, staff and customers safety were his priority, he always put them first over his own. He built beautiful relationships with so many people and has left a huge imprint on their lives, from the smallest child, the youth to the oldest person, from the homeless to the business and Elite, from the neighbor to parliament and from the common to Royalty.
Vili was strong in his culture, he upheld the Tongan traditions and values in his daily life, he loved his identity and was a follower and leader that respected the protocols of his culture. He was a protector of his culture and family values. He is and always was a very staunch Tongan man and supported families and communities in need of financial support back in Tonga.
Vili was raised a Christian like many Tongan people and he held Christ in high regard, the values and core principles is what he had always lived by, he made many mistakes and took wrong turns in his short life, his walk with christ was not always a smooth one but he never forgot that Christ was always there with him through the good, the bad and ugly, his raw emotion when speaking to God would make every women, man and child feel his pain and struggle and you couldn’t help but cry with him. Vili was a forgiving man, he forgave others regardless, he loved every one and respected each individual in high esteem, he understood forgiveness and his faith and trust in God is what carried him in the last years and days of his life.
Since before Malieta was born Vili was moving his way back to walking with Christ. Vili became a dedicated follower of Christ and he started making many significant changes to his life
Reverend Iesinga Vunipola 2023 reported that Viliami Tavake was a member of London Tongan Fellowship who are under the Trustee of Rivercourt Methodist Church, and the Circuit of Chelsea Fulham Hammersmith of The London District Methodist Church. The British Methodist Church!
Viliami Tavake was a Local Preacher! He devotedly gave his all to actively participated in the Building of the Body of Christ! Always delivered a powerful convicting message. His passion was discipleship especially to young people and children. He was a leader in his own way. He was a man of few words but it was his action that speaks louder. His love for Christ shined in his life. (Rev Iesinga Vunipola 2023)
To reinforce Vili’s walk with Christ he joined a Bible study group called “TOUTAI OLA” and his last bible reading he shared was taken from 2 King 23: 1-8 and 21-25 which he shared on the Sunday 5th of February 2023, 4 days before he died.
This group came about from a “Let’s Go Champ” social group, that was formed when Covid 19 hit the UK. During the lockdown they held kava sessions online on Messenger.
The group brought together other Tongan men from many different countries around the Globe to share good things or if someone had an issue that together they could help out with or ideas that we can do something about it.
Reverend Manuokafoa Tu’ipulotu from the Wales Tongan Fellowship founded the group TOUTAI OLA (the name was based on Luke 5.1-10) , it was named in the belief that the men valued the word of God. They held bible studies every Sunday’s at 8pm and during the week, everyone had a bible verse to read in the morning or evening and Vili was a very proactive member.
Vili was also one of the founding members for the Kalapu Lo’se in England and he held the role as the President for Kalapu Lo’se for many years. This was a kava club for Tongan men where by they regularly met weekly and if they could maybe a couple of times a week. Vili would travel a long way, sometimes as far as 2 hours there and back but that would never bother him. He was a proud member, committed, and proactive to support the families and their children that belonged to this group, he regularly brought in sponsorship to support to fund special occasions for the children. Everything he did was never for himself it was always for the children, the youth and their families.
Pastor Tata Strickland from the Maranatha SDA church in Rotorua, New Zealand (Feb 2023) shared with me to Know this, it never was gods plan for any of us to suffer, or die…. Your husband has gone, but only in this life. The next is forever, because Vili believed in Jesus Christ and found love peace and comfort in him, as you will. This is why it is called the blessed hope, as the Apostle Paul says: We do not mourn as those who have no hope. Our blessing is in the promise that Jesus gives us himself in John 14:1-3. The challenge is for us, who are alive, to prepare for eternity- to trust in Gods word, so that we can be reunited again with our loved ones. Meanwhile, God is your father, the Holy Spirit your comforter in Jesus Christ your saviour. It is difficult to see that this is Gods plan for the good. This is where trusting in his word, seeking in his prayer morning, noon and night, bringing your petitions to him, laying it at his feet. Let him know how you feel. Let him know how your thinking. But never doubt the word of God. Let us look with joy to the day when we will be together, with the Lord, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more sickness and no more death or crying – for Jesus will wipe away all our tears.
Psalms 71 verse 20-1. And for the precious gift that God has entrusted you with, be strong for Malieta’s sake. Philippians 4:13. This is a prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference, living one day at a time. Enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did the sinful world as it is not as I would have it. Trusting that you will make all things right, if I surrender to your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy In the next. I will Pray this prayer as I go through this crucible and difficult time.
To my darling husband there are no words that will describe the pain I am feeling, I am left broken hearted that you cannot be here in this life with myself, Malieta and her siblings. I am comforted to know that we loved each other wholeheartedly, you always said you love me after every conversation we had together.
Thank you for being my best friend , my soul mate and a truly devoted husband. I’m so very proud of all that you have achieved in your short life and it brings me comfort knowing that you gave your life to Christ. Until we meet again my love on that Glorious day that we have been promised from God.
This is not goodbye from me this is I will see you again my love.
I miss and Love you always and forever
Love from your wife,
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A selection of floral posies. Approximate sizes are:
A beautiful range of sympathy baskets. Approximate sizes include:
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