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Monday, 20 May 2019 02:24 am

Dad won’t let his Kiwi sons return to NZ

Jan 20th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Pat 1

ESTRANGED DAD: Pat Arasi with son Qlevedon in 2007.

A SAMOAN man whose wife has accused him of keeping their young Kiwi sons in Samoa says he and his family are upset by her claims and he won’t be letting the boys return to NZ.

“My whole family are shocked and hurt,” Fepulea’i Patrick Arasi (26) told NewsWire in a phone interview today.

His wife of three years, Elwynn Taotua-Lennie (27), Porirua, says it is more than a fortnight since she has seen her children, Qlevedon (2) and Ephraim (1), after they went for what she thought would be a short stay with her estranged husband in Samoa over New Year.

Mr Arasi said his wife can see the children any time, although after what has now happened he would not allow the boys (who are NZ citizens) to return to New Zealand.

“It’s a very long story and a personal matter between me and my wife, you know,  just between us,” he said when NewsWire was finally able to reach him for comment about his wife’s accusations.

“My friend told me to get a copy of the paper because there was a story about me on the front page. Lucky there was no photo of me,” he said.

When asked if he and Ms Taotua-Lennie were separated (as she claims), he said he did not know: “She just got up and left.”

Asked what would cause her to leave, Mr Arasi replied: “To this day I honestly don’t know why, but it’s a long story.”

When Mr Arasi was asked why he did not return the boys to their mother, he said:  “I rung Elwynn and she was sick.”

When he was asked why he did not return the boys at a later stage, he said: “Well, it’s a very long story and, yes, she knows.”

Qlevedon_&_his_Mommy]Ms Taotua-Lennie, pregnant with their third child, said today she fears for her safety after receiving threatening texts following a story in the Samoan Observer earlier today.

Still in Samoa trying to see the boys, Ms Taotua-Lennie (pictured here with Qlevedon) is worried her visa will run out soon and she will be deported back to New Zealand.

A NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson has contacted NewsWire saying they were aware of Ms Taotua-Lennie’s case and that she received advice from their New Zealand consulate office in Samoa. They were not able to intervene in child custody matters.

On Monday, Ms Taotua-Lennie said her husband took the boys for what was supposed to be a short visit on December 31, but he never returned them.

She went to police in Samoa, but they said they could not help, although they could go with her to get the children.

“They can’t force the kids out of the families’ hands,” she says. “They asked me what did I do wrong in order to make him so angry at me. They said I should get back with him.

“It’s going onto three weeks this Thursday since I have not seen my boys. I went back to the police station and they said they still can’t help.”

Godmother to Qlevedon and Ephraim, Grace To’o, Porirua, went to the NZ Department of Internal Affairs in Auckland on January 5 to seek help.

“They told me they couldn’t deal with it and to go to the Department of Immigration.

“I went there and their office was closed. When I got home, I called Immigration and got put through to several people before being told to talk to the Department of Internal affairs again,” says Ms To’o.

“I finally got put through to Peter Noonan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who noted everything down and then contacted the NZ High Commissioner in Samoa.

“Within an hour he called me back saying he received an email from Samoa saying it was a civil matter and they could not intervene.”

Ms Taotua-Lennie said she moved out because things were not working, but she was willing to let Mr Arasi take his sons for a short visit.

“I needed to get the kids out (of Samoa), but was trying to be civil when letting him take the kids before New Year’s Eve for [what was intended to be] a couple of days,” she says.

She is receiving help from Victim Support in Samoa. A spokesperson says she is not a Samoan citizen, so it is only fair the New Zealand High Commissioner assist with her case.

“We are helping her, but we can only tell her where to go. We can’t do anything else.”

In its report today, the Observer said the Samoan immigration official who processes deportation orders is Acting Assistant CEO, Togatalima Fa’afouina Milford, who said he is not aware of the matter involving Ms Lennie.

But an application for extension of a visa from a parent who is a foreigner and who is involved in a custody matter is considered by Immigration, Togatalima said.

Each case is considered on its merits, he said. ne consideration is the question of who is sponsoring the children involved, he said.

He will look into the matter for an explanation of what is happening.

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is is Niuean and has mastered the art of Talanoa, when translated means "talking long", deciding to put this talent to use she found her way to Whitireia Journalism School. Her interests are in things Pacific, Leadership and Mentoring. She hopes to rock the airwaves in the very near future.
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8 comments
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  1. he should just give the kids back to their mother. A mother no’s best in its not fair on the kids to suffer with no mother

  2. A child NEEDS his/her mother as much as a mother NEEDS her child. Ok, I don’t know the full story but to take the children away from their mother? Definitely not the solution. And to read that she is pregnant with their third child. She does not need the added stress from the drama. Surely, it’s not good for the baby either. But whats equally disturbing is the fact that the people in high places or the people in Samoa who can actually help, are not helping. Giving El the run around. Not good. Not good at all. El, my thoughts are with you. Stay strong. See you soon.

    Azure xoxo

  3. Hmm, this is a little confusing. How can he not know the details (or reasons his wife “left”) of what he describes is a “long story?” Obviously it is a civil matter and since she has declared they are separated then surely this is a clear cut cause for rights of custody. Despite the reasons for their supposed separation, what she needs now is a lawyer or some kind legal aid/advice…?

  4. Give the kids back it’s unfair for the kids to not be with their mother sinces they have been with their mother since birth, every child needs their mother and no doubt those boys are wondering where is their mother? why have they not seen her yet?

  5. LOL @ 1.“It’s a very long story and a personal matter between me and my wife, you know, just between us,” 2.”Lucky there was no photo of me,” 3.”but it’s a long story.” 4.“Well, it’s a very long story and, yes, she knows.” HHHHHMMMmmmmmm…you be the judge…lol

    What the heck is going on??! Come on New Zealand – surely there must be someone who can help?! Obviously Samoa has a *crap* system…those poor boys – who knows what must be going through their heads other then wanting to be with their Mother…JUST GIVE THE KIDS BACK!!!!!

  6. i think that pat should take it to account that El did the civil thing and took the boys their to see him on her own free will when he could have came and saw the boys in NZ

  7. why don’t we just back off and let the family do whats best for their children…

  8. we the people don’t even know what happened and whats going on to judge who the right person is to raise their children. whatever they decide I hope they do it for the best interest of the kids……..instead pray for the family…………God bless

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