On 30 June last year Duncan Meek made a terrible error on the Southern Motorway in Auckland and collided with the Fa’aeteete family van. Mr Fa’aeteete was killed leaving Mrs Fa’aeteete instantly widowed with a son, a daughter, granddaughter and another on the way.
I admit to reading the news and being somewhat immune to it all. It’s not often I feel particularly moved but the story in the NZ Herald about Duncan Meek’s sentencing and Mrs Fa’aeteete moved me.
“To err is human, to forgive is divine,” Mrs Fa’aeteete told the court. “If Petelo was here he would say that it’s done. Learn from it and don’t do it again.” She continued: “We met with Duncan Meek. His monumental loss of concentration had dark consequences – it caused the death of our beloved Petelo. His remorseful demeanour left me no option than to live by Petelo’s legacy to be forgiving.”
Mrs Fa’aeteete hugged Mr Meek in court, cried and told him to not do it again.
Where did Aida Fa’aeteete get such strength to forgive? I don’t really know, but probably in part from her late beloved Petelo. I’m sure Mr Meek’s remorse had something to do with it too.
Mrs Fa’aeteete is a remarkable woman who shows extraordinary leadership. The courts are full of revenge dressed up as justice while we have the people, the will and the resources to truly move on with justice that restores peace through forgiveness and being heard.
We can all learn from Mr Fa’aeteete, more so than she thinks possible I reckon. Such powerful actions, unplanned and genuine. She get’s the last word today: “My husband was a forgiving person. I will forgive Duncan once, I just hope he learns from it. If we achieve that, and he doesn’t do it again and if someone else learns from this, then that’s more than enough for me.”