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Father’s Day Special: A dedicated father, blessed to have children

Thursday 31 August 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Features


Father’s Day Special: A dedicated father, blessed to have children
Wayke Punga, his partner Marian Gosselin and their children Kapiti and Kuluea. 23082910

Father's Day is a special occasion which celebrates the invaluable role of fathers in our lives - a time to honour and appreciate the hardworking dads who go above and beyond to provide for their families and care for their children.

For the upcoming Father’s Day celebrations on Sunday, we shine a light on a devoted father, 37-year-old Wayken Punga. With his partner Marian Gosselin, they have two handsome young boys Kapiti (six) and Kuluea (20 months).

Through his story, we hope to encourage and motivate other fathers to embrace their responsibilities and prioritise the well-being of their young children.

Punga hails from the island of Pukapuka, he is one of nine children to parents Punga Timoti and Panua Ngarupe nee Mataito.

Born in Aotearoa New Zealand, he was raised in Pukapuka, eventually moving to Rarotonga to attend college.

Meeting Marian, the sweetheart of his life, they settled down, making plans for their future.

“Becoming a father is one of the most precious things to me, and it’s a blessing that I have children,” he says.

“As a father I want my kids to become good men, to be led in the right direction and to become good people.”

Punga is the warehouse manager at the Bond Store, a place he has worked at for the past ten years.

He enjoys his job and the physical aspect of it “that’s why I’m still there,” he says.

Before starting their family, Punga and Gosselin wanted to ensure they could provide a secure

environment and have financial stability.

“We planned our kids.

“We bought a vehicle and we used to rent until we built our house, and now we have two nice, beautiful boys,” he says.

Together with his partner, Punga is dedicated to his children's growth and prioritises healthy living and good nurturing relationships.

With new technology, smart phones are very much the norm in the hands of young kids nowadays.

Punga says “we don’t have any worries about our kids spending too much time on smart phones or playing games because they don’t use it.

“We don’t encourage our kids using smart phones and they don’t watch much television, and we like to encourage them to play outdoors.”

His children are also discouraged from eating junk food and fizzy drinks.

“We make their healthy lunch and our eldest goes to school with a bottle of water.”

Punga is proud of his heritage and speaks Pukapukan to his boys.

Kapiti, the eldest, is a confident little man and he speaks Pukapukan at home, says Punga.

He (Kapiti) also participates in the speech competitions at his school (Te Uki Ou) which he usually opens with a pe’e (chant) in Pukapukan or Māori.

During the Arorangi CICC Ekalesia “teretere” programme Kapiti also reads his bible readings in his native language.

In a world where parenting plays a crucial role in a child’s development, Punga’s love and dedication, and his commitment to his children’s well-being sets admirable examples for fathers.

His story serves as a reminder of the immense impact a loving and supportive father can have on their children’s lives shaping them into resilient, skilful and capable individuals ready to take on the world

“I’m proud of my kids and I want them to be in the right place in their future.”

Punga said he is looking forward to Father’s Day on Sunday and would like to wish all the dads a happy Father’s Day.

“Be a good father to your kids and be happy you have kids, take care of them, look after them and enjoy them,” he says.

*The Bond Store has Father’s Day Steinlager gift packs for $20, every purchase will also go into a draw to win a Stand-up Paddle board.