Two Years On, Dad Still Lingers For Answers

Undeleted text messages, dreams of son hurt father every day.
26 Jul 2022 15:44
Two Years On, Dad Still Lingers For Answers
Eliki Rarawa with his children at their home in Tovata, Nasinu on July 25, 2022. Photo: Nolishma Narayan. Inset: The late Eliki Yaco Jnr.

Eliki Rarawa, father of the late Eliki Yaco Jnr, is still seeking justice two years on. His son disappeared in waters of Ono-i-Lau on May 31, 2020.

Aged 23 and fondly known as ‘Tua’, Eliki Jnr mysteriously disappeared after he was heading to Mana Island, which is off the village of Nukuni in Ono-i-Lau, to pick up a Government employee.

On the island, ‘Tua’ was said to have picked up a nurse and her companion from the picnic area. It was alleged Mr Yaco was attacked by a shark as they were returning.


Two years and one month later, the infamous event now compels a distraught memory for Tua’s father, as Police are still trying to determine what really happened.

Mr Rarawa describes his desperate longing as something no parent should ever experience. He lost his son on his birthday, May 31.

“It has been years since I last saw Tua, a demise that has kept me mourning for years now,” Mr Rarawa said.

“All these years have been nothing but heartbreaks since he was my eldest. The worst part was that in 2017, I lost my wife who was diagnosed with cancer. Four years later, we lost Tua.”


He was told by Police last year that his son’s case was on hold because officers were investigating the death that occurred in May 2021 on board the fishing boat FV Tiro II.

“Thankfully, my son’s case was with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), where later I was told it had been transferred to the Major Crime, which I was relieved about. Last month, when I called them again, they told me they will be resuming Tua’s case,” the father of five said.

In the fight to get justice for his late son, Mr Rarawa had no hesitations to contact the Police whenever he had random thoughts of his son appear in his dream.

“Ever since his disappearance, I still get random dreams of my boy, sweet and funny out-spoken Tua usually appears to say it’s okay ‘Ta’ (Dad).


“The wait is so long that now I’ve deleted pictures of him because every time I come across his pictures, I tear up. I want to be strong for my children who are still here with me, so to find strength, I often delete his pictures.”

Mr Rarawa said what hurts more now is knowing that his last few messages with Tua, which he has not deleted, was about shipping second-hand clothes that were donated earlier for children on the island.

Tua had wanted to ship the clothes for his younger siblings back in Suva.

“My last conversation with him was on the 26th of May, 2022, telling me that he will be sending clothes for his younger siblings. I didn’t reply.


“On 30th of May he reminded me again saying to pick the clothes from one of our relatives that will be coming to Viti Levu.

“The same day, he gave me a seen on Messenger, “Sa donu, Tovolea mo raica ga niu sa online qai video call mai.” (That’s fine, just try to see if I will go online then video call me).

On the morning of May 31, 2020, Tua didn’t call his father virtually via Messenger, a memory that hurts Mr Rarawa since Tua was finally fulfilling his promise of going to their village and looking after their farm.


Fijian Navy

Responding to queries, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Naval Division confirmed that they had received a proposal of a rescue team to be dispatched, but the Fiji Police did not follow up with its request.

“What Fiji Navy understands is that this was handled by Fiji Police because jurisdiction wise, it was within the Fiji Police Jurisdiction: within the internal waters,” it said.

Police did not respond when this edition went to the press.



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