Blessie Gotingco will be farewelled next week with a
requiem mass, "the greatest honour we can pay", says the priest
who will preside over her funeral.
Father Craig Dunford said he knew Mrs Gotingco to be a
"happy, joyful, beautiful human being" and had been
supporting her family since news of her disappearance broke.
They were "obviously devastated", he said.
"[It was] very difficult for the children when the news first
broke. Her husband wasn't here so they had to shoulder the
responsibility and the grief initially by themselves.
"You don't expect this in New Zealand. We are a very peaceful
country and on the whole it's a safe environment.
"It is a wake up call I suppose for us all to really
appreciate our loved ones, to not take anyone, or anything
for granted," Father Dunford said.
"We've prepared a funeral for Blessie on Thursday at 1pm and
that'll take the shape of a requiem mass, which is, for
Catholics, the greatest honour we can pay one of our own."
St Mary's Catholic Church in Northcote was the family's
spiritual home and Mrs Gotingco was now part of the
"communion of saints", he said.
Her husband Antonio Gotingco yesterday spoke at a press
conference called by the family, and described his wife as a
God-fearing, kind, generous, and loving woman.
"I can't describe how awful the past few days have been for
our family. We are just taking it one step at a time," he
"She is the light of our home, and without her, we will be
lost in darkness.
"Right now, we are just trying to pretend that everything is
ok, but deep inside, we are broken-hearted."
He thanked all those who had reached out to them.
"We have neighbours we never knew, putting notes in our
letterbox, offering services to us [from] cleaning our house
to cooking us dinner."
Mrs Gotingco's oldest son John said his mother's death was a
Waitemata police district spokeswoman Beth Bates said no
further details of the police investigation into Mrs
Gotingco's death would be released, and declined to comment
on whether a weapon had been found.
A post-mortem examination had been completed, but the details
would not be made public, she said.
Birkdale residents were planning a memorial march for Blessie
tomorrow, one week from the night Mrs Gotingco disappeared.
One of the march organisers, who only wanted to be identified
as Kerrin, said marchers would meet at Birkdale Primary
School on Salisbury Rd at 8pm.
The Gotingco family were "very supportive and thankful" the
march was taking place, she said.
"Really it's just a peaceful walk for us to think about the
loss of a woman's life in our community and for us to reclaim
Supporters would walk along Salisbury Rd then Eskdale Rd and
finally up to Birkenhead cemetery.
Marchers are asked to wear Blessie's favourite colour, green,
and bring torches, lanterns, candles and flowers. All are
- By Brendan Manning of APNZ