23 Aug 2012

NZ officer dies after assault in Tongan cell

7:23 pm on 23 August 2012

A New Zealand police officer assaulted in a cell in Tonga has died, local authorities have confirmed.

Kali Fungavaka was in Tonga for the funeral of his grandfather and was arrested on a minor drunkenness offence in the capital Nuku'alofa late last Friday.

Police say he was set upon by another prisoner in the cells.

He was taken to Vaiola Hospital where he underwent surgery for a head injury, but died on Thursday evening.

Tongan police say an inquiry is under way and the man who allegedly assaulted Mr Fungavaka has been arrested.

Two police staff have also been arrested for an earlier assault on the New Zealander.

Mr Fungavaka, a recipient of the New Zealand Bravery Medal, joined the police in 2006.

Members of his family are believed to have flown to Tonga.