COOK ISLANDS SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ

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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, August 10) – Te Ina Marokura Ngamata, 37, was killed in Baghdad on Tuesday night (local time) after the vehicle he was driving to transport foreign workers was bombed by insurgents.

Ngamata was born and raised in Matavera but moved to New Zealand after attending Titikaveka College to join the army in the 80s. He left the Linton military camp in 2004 to join the international security firm Armour guard as a driver working in Iraq .

He last visited Rarotonga in 2003 for his father's burial.

Ngamata was employed by the same company that employed six Fijian security guards killed in insurgent attacks in Baghdad on transport convoys around April.

His wife Cheryl and brother Taneao arrive in Kuwait today to bring his body to New Zealand and on to Rarotonga with all expenses paid for by the company.

Ngamata will be buried next to his other family members at the family burial ground to the right of the packing shed in Matavera.

His brother in law Ben Hadfield told New Zealand media that the risks of the job were at the forefront of Ngamata's mind, but he seldom talked about it and played it down to give his family peace of mind.

"Everyone is in shock and devastated by the news. He was well loved by his family and had a lot of friends," Hadfield said.

"At times he was honest with them but he always said the best precautions were taken. He said if you died over there, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Wherever he worked he was one of those guys that was very charismatic and people were drawn to him.

"He was a very good father."

Ngamata's sister-in-law Char-meyne Te Nana said Ngamata was a warrior and a loving family man who was dedicated to his wife Cheryl and their four children. He had returned to see his family many times since 2004, as recently as two weeks ago.

Ngamata's mother Ruta, sister Pua and aunty Kopu Vogel will fly to New Zealand this weekend to join Cheryl and the New Zealand family when they return the body to Rarotonga at a date yet to be confirmed.

He is survived by his wife, four children, mother, a brother and four sisters. - UKM

August 21, 2006

Cook Islands News: http://www.cinews.co.ck/

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