REST IN LOVE
$25,822 of $100,000 goal
In times of trouble is when you need people the most. Right now, our brother needs the help of people more then ever.
Our very good friend and brother John Tavaga - a Kiwi Samoan living in Rarotonga, Cook Islands was involved in a tragic motorbike accident which has left him in critical condition and fighting for his life in hospital. The medical team at the hospital in Rarotonga were amazing with the limited medical support and resources on the island.
Right now John needs to be transported from Rarotonga to New Zealand asap where he can get the medical support he needs as he is at a stage where anything can happen.
Those that know John will tell you how much of a loving and caring person he is. His positive and charismatic attitude always making people smile. He is loved and cherished by all his friends and family - he is one of a kind.
He moved to Rarotonga after he lost the love of his life to cancer last year - His beautiful wife and angel Taegan McNamara who we continue to keep dear to our hearts. Rarotonga was his wife's favourite destination and its the reason why John decided to live there as to feel closer to his wife.
This tragedy has come so sudden and we are asking for support from all over the world to help us and assist us in getting John home to New Zealand where he can get the support he needs.
The total cost to transport John in his current condition along with on-going medical expenses is roughly at $100k. Any donation will help John get to NZ as he fights for his life. We thank and appreciate any donations and will keep everyone updated with John's status. Thank you for your love, prayers and blessings at this time.
We are happy to move forward and put this behind us all. An agreement has been made by both parties as it is a sensitive matter. We trust that promises will be kept on how these funds will be disbursed.
We have made the funds available to a Tavaga Family member. Jonathan Tavaga will be in charge to follow through and distribute the funds accordingly as stated on the gofundme page for the medical transportation and medical costs. The Petersons will be reimbursed for covering the transportation cost for John from Rarotonga to New Zealand. The remaining funds will go to other outstanding bills associated and the rest to be decided by the Tavaga family.
We are constantly reminded that in life, there will be obstacles and lessons learnt through life. At the end of the day, we can be thankful for many blessings such as friends and family and life itself. We are all thankful that John had so many loving family and friends as we continue to keep him close to our hearts.
Carolina Gomez and Shane Stewart
Ps: If you still wish to claim a refund and having trouble with refund process found on the go fund me page please let me know as we are still approving refunds no questions asked. Just provide us with the full name of the donor.
My name is Carolina Gomez and my husband is Shane Stewart who is one of John Tavagas close friends. I created this GoFundMe account to assist in this tragic situation to bring JT home.
Both my husband and I live in Sydney Australia where John resided for ten years prior to moving to Rarotonga.
When the tragic news of John's incident occurred, we were notified of his situation by Irene and Rob Peterson. They jumped on the next flight out to Raro to be by his side. Rob is close friends with John and Irene was acquaintances with Shane before they were reunited through John when they visited Sydney. We met Junior Tavaga and his wife in Port Macquarie when John’s wife had passed they joined them the next afternoon.
The Peterson’s had received two quotes - a private medical plane to escort John immediately or stand by which costs between $60,000 - $100,000+ or the Air NZ option (normal commercial flight) which costs were between $15,000.00 - $20,000.00 including medical bills. Given those options, the Peterson’s advised Shane to create the GoFundMe page on their behalf as they had limited internet access in Rarotonga and knew the situation would be astronomical. Due to Shane working that day, he advised me to create it under clear instructions.We set a target of 100k as we knew the injuries he sustained could cost up to tens of thousands for on going medical cost as we all had high hopes for JT on making it through. This was to also ease any future difficulty for the family and John.
We were unable to access the funds immediately due to the 7 day waiting period from initiation as per gofundme policy. The Petersons covered the transport and medical expenses out of there personal savings and as discussed were to be reimbursed once funds were accessible.The Petersons together with Junior and his wife escorted John to NZ via the Air Nz option as time was crucial and with limited funds. This option was cheaper than both quotes.
Once John arrived in New Zealand, we then handed over the access of the account to the Peterson’s without question as we had created the page on their behalf and they were surrounded by the family. They were involved from the beginning. My husband and I had not traveled to NZ yet and we were not sure of John’s condition until we arrived few days later.
Unfortunately John passed on the 6th August 2016 surrounded by family but what followed was a relationship breakdown between the two parties. Disagreements on certain issues rose and access to the funds became the main topic. Eventually it lead to the suspension of the gofundme account. Once the account was suspended, the only person who could reactivate the account was myself as I created it. I now have full unrestricted access and have been advised by GoFundMe that i am best to administer the page for obvious reasons.
We have made contact with both parties and are neutral to them both. Over the past week there are certain claims and statements made surrounding fraud and theft which we can confirm are false but that is not for us to discuss. We are here to make things right by both parties and for all donors.
We will be transparent in every way and can advise that the funds have not been touched by anyone apart from what has been refunded at the donors request. We believe the funds should be used for its original purpose stated which was for transportation and medical expenses and the family will be apart of how the remaining funds are to be dispersed.
Moving forward: There is another 7 day cooling period which will give all donors a chance to apply for a full refund and for those that believe the funds are being misused. There have been refunds made since the last update provided by The Tavaga family. As the administrator of John’s campaign, I can assure you that the remaining funds will be used as stipulated on the campaign.
After one week has passed, the funds will be used to reimburse the Peterson’s for what they used in covering transportation and medical costs for John as per the agreement. All receipts have been received by myself and other parties to ensure clarity and transparancy.
From there, the remaining funds will be used for any other incurring costs and will go to the family.
Because of this delicate situation our involvement has developed more than we anticipated and wanted. We have every intention of honouring both parties by being open and transparent. Furthermore, we have nothing to hide and have message trails and emails confirming our statements given. If you have any questions or would like more info, please email my husband who will be able to assist.
There are many life experiences and lessons we go through day in, day out. However with every negative action, you can find a positive reaction by coming together and sharing the love. John had love for so many people and we are very blessed to have him in our lives and memories.
We wish for all to come together and continue your love and support during this challenging moment for all involved including The Petersons and The Tavaga family.
We would like to also share this Beautiful tribute honouring Jt , Images and video captured from our wedding a few months ago. We were honored to have John apart of our big day, Thankyou.
Carolina and Shane Stewart
Our family have been united in every decision and are choosing to stand strong again when we ask you all to request a refund of your donation from GoFundMe.
To remember our brother for the man he is and not what happened after, we have decided that we will not be allowing the story to run on media.
We are amazed at the lack of honesty and integrity from the people involved and the organisations inability to find a resolution.
It was out of the willingness to aid the situation that Carolina Gomez created the GoFundMe campaign. Unfortunately under misleading guidance, access to this account had been compromised. This has lead to a third party gaining access and thus prompting action in accordance to the fraudulent behaviour. GoFundMe are obligated to refund donor payments on grounds of suspected fraud. We have requested GoFundMe to refund all donations back to the donors and believe that they will honour their promises on their website.
We are so grateful for the generosity extended to our brother and thank you for all your support.
Please note: although it appears that we have control of this GoFundMe page we are only able to post updates. We (Tavaga Family) DO NOT currently have any access to the funds associated.
It is with a heavy heart to let you all know that JT has passed away after a week long fight for his life. John is now in the company of his beautiful wife Taegan.