Tongan church service for Lomu

A memorial service will be held for Jonah Lomu at the Tongan church in South Auckland where he grew up.

The Tongan community will conduct the public service at the Lotofale’ia Methodist Church in Mangere on Sunday from 6pm (NZT).

Lomu died suddenly on Wednesday.

It has been “extremely difficult not only to his family but to his community, here in Mangere, South Auckland, where his heart will always be”, Tongan community leader Salote Heleta Lilo says.

“Jonah was our much-admired son, loved, dedicated and supremely gifted rugby union superstar who fulfilled his immense talent with perfection.”

It was a heartbreaking time for the Pacific community, who were in shock, she said.

Jonah’s meteoric rise from the small village of Holopeka, Ha’apai, Tonga to Mangere, South Auckland, to Wesley College, then becoming an All Black was amazing, she said.

“Jonah Lomu made a positive and lasting impression on everyone he met.”

Funeral plans are yet to be announced, but plans are under way for a private service and large public service.

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