The community of Mangaia is in deep mourning after a young father lost his life following a serious motorbike accident last weekend.
Ngatokoitu Junior Toko, 24, affectionately known as Maki Junior and Scalley, was airlifted to Rarotonga Hospital on Sunday, but passed away on Tuesday after succumbing to serious injuries sustained in the crash.
Cook Islands Police was yesterday unable to comment as they are waiting for a full report on the accident.
It is unknown whether Toko was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, but police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said Pa Enua would be exempted from new laws around compulsory helmet use for all motorbike users. The exiting law of compulsory helmet for 16-25 year olds and visitors will remain in force on the outer islands.
Lowering of the breath alcohol limit from 400mcg to 250mcg however, would be enforced throughout the Cook Islands.
Toko’s death is the second road fatality to occur on Mangaia, with the last one registered in 2014.
Tributes to Toko have been flowing on social media as the young man leaves behind a partner, baby son Jedidiah and his family.
All those who knew and loved him remembered a fun-natured and respectful man with a zest for life and spoke of his love for his family. They were shocked and overcome with grief by his premature and sudden passing.
They vowed to be there for and take care of his partner and son through their time of loss.
On Tuesday Toko’s cousin Toa Pole said his family were organising for Toko to be transported back to Mangaia where he will be laid to rest.
A prayer service was held at the mortuary in Rarotonga yesterday, prior to his departure back to his home island.