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Hundreds gather to remember ‘brightest of lights’ Solomone Taufeulungaki

“If we’re not listening you need to tell us,” said Jeremy Nikora, a youth worker who spoke on behalf of the Maori community.

“You need to shake us. I would rather be shaken by one of our young people … than stand at the foot at another one of our future leaders and bury them before they have a chance to reach their potential.”

Laumape Taufeulungaki, Solomone’s elder brother, spoke briefly, thanking the community for their support and extending forgiveness to his brothers attackers.

“Yes we’re hurting, there are a lot of people hurting. But for all that hurt we still have love,” he said at the ceremony’s close.

“For anyone that was involved, we know and believe that if we love one another the world will be a better place.”

Two of Solomone’s former teachers, who could not attend the memorial, said on Friday they were in “absolute disbelief” over the killing, having known Solo and his “beautiful family” for many years.

Representatives from the Pacific Islander community spoke and gave prayers during the hour-long ceremony.

Representatives from the Pacific Islander community spoke and gave prayers during the hour-long ceremony.Credit:Joe Armao

“To say the news devastated us would be an enormous understatement,” they said.

“Solomone had a smile and laugh that could light up any room. He included all and was an excellent friend to his peers. We will always remember Solomone for his kind nature, his charisma, his deep love for his family, his love to laugh and his passion for sport.

“He was truly the brightest of lights and we will always remember him this way … the news has left all teachers who taught him and knew him heartbroken.”

There was a heavy police presence in Deer Park on Friday night, with at least two dozen officers and six mounted police at the memorial.

There was a heavy police presence in Deer Park on Friday night.

There was a heavy police presence in Deer Park on Friday night.Credit:Joe Armao

Prominent figures in the Melbourne Pacific Islander community have condemned a culture of violence they believe led to the teen’s death.

Victoria Police West Metro Commander Tim Hansen said on Thursday police had a “dedicated tactical plan in place” across the western suburbs in case of reprisal activity in coming days.

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They were also working with Solomone’s school, Victoria University Secondary College, and were discussing whether they would need to implement extra security measures going forward.

“If these kids or these street gangs want to come back into other western suburbs of Melbourne and get involved in a fight, we will be there ready, waiting for them,” he said.

Deer Park has been made a designated area, giving police special powers including the ability to search for weapons, remove face masks and move people on.

The stepped-up response came into effect at 2.30pm on Friday and will last until 2.30am on Saturday.

Solomone was killed as he walked home from school. He told his 14-year-old cousin, Aki Faiva, to run for her life, as they were allegedly approached by a group of up to 10 boys before the deadly attack.

Flowers and mourners pay tribute to the slain schoolboy.

Flowers and mourners pay tribute to the slain schoolboy.Credit:Joe Armao

Six boys, aged 13 to 16, have been charged with violent disorder and affray in connection with the incident.

No one has been charged directly for his death.

Students from Victoria University Secondary College perform a traditional dance at the service.

Students from Victoria University Secondary College perform a traditional dance at the service.Credit:AAP

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