Kiwi mum slain in Australia – ‘Her kids meant everything’

April 3, 2016 3:00 am

Sandra Peniamina, 29, was last in just weeks ago to see her sick mum Anevili Potter, and another visit was planned for two weeks. Photo / Brisbane Courier Mail

The Auckland mum slain at her Brisbane home was about to return to New Zealand to visit her cancer-stricken mother.
Sandra Peniamina, 29, was last in New Zealand just weeks ago to see her sick mum Anevili Potter, and another visit was planned for two weeks. Yesterday Peniamina’s distraught relatives gathered at the family home in Manurewa to mourn the loss of the mum of four, stabbed to death allegedly by her husband in the driveway of her Brisbane home.
Potter was too upset to speak to the Herald on Sunday. But Peniamina’s sister, Sylvia Potter, said the family were struggling to understand what had happened.
“We are still trying to process this, we still can’t believe what has happened, it is just so hard to take in,” she said. “We are grieving for Sandra and we are all in a state of shock.”
Neighbours in the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe called emergency services on Thursday night after hearing screams and finding the injured 29-year-old in her driveway.
Paramedics described the scene as one of the worst they’d seen.
Peniamina’s four children, aged 4-10, were asleep in the house at the time. They are now in the care of Australian-based relatives.
Peniamina’s husband, Arona Peniamina, also from Auckland, has been charged with murder.

Arona Peniamina. Photo / SuppliedArona Peniamina. Photo / Supplied

Yesterday a close relative and friend of Sandra Peniamina said she last heard from her on Thursday morning. “She said she was happy,” the relative, who lives in Otara but declined to be named, said.
“I didn’t hear anything from her on Thursday night or Friday morning which was unusual but I assumed she didn’t have any internet. When I heard what happened I was stunned. I just couldn’t believe it.
“Sandra and I were very close,” she said. “We grew up together and she was a real people person. She was outgoing and made lots of friends.”
The relative said the Peniaminas had moved to about five years ago.
“I really feel for the kids. Four young children have been left without a mother.”
Friend Petala Eteuati said Sandra Peniamina had a huge group of friends from James Cook High School, which they attended together.
“It was just her personality. She loved to joke, she had a weird sense of humour and she was the type of friend that was always there for you.
“She loved to clown around and make you laugh.”
Eteuati hadn’t seen Peniamina since she moved to Australia, but they stayed in touch on Facebook.

Police speak to a well-wisher at the scene of Sandra Peniamina's death. Photo / News CorpPolice speak to a well-wisher at the scene of Sandra Peniamina’s death. Photo / Corp

One thing that was clear was how much she cared about her four children.
“She spoke about her kids all the time. They meant everything to her.”
Eteuati hoped Sandra Peniamina could be brought back to New Zealand for the funeral.
Arona Peniamina, 35, has been treated at Redcliffe Hospital for hand injuries.
He was charged with murder at a bedside hearing on Friday before undergoing surgery.
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