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Nau mai, haere mai, talofa lava, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, kia orana, warm greetings

This week we received the very sad news of the passing of Kristian Wang. 

Kristian was a much-loved Year 9 student at St Thomas, a son and a brother.

Kristian started at St Thomas in 2020 in Year 7. Throughout his first term Kristian become unwell and after a series of tests, it was discovered that Kristian had a cancerous brain tumour. Kristian courageously underwent a seven hour operation, chemotherapy, radiation and multiple lumber punctures in his spine throughout his battle with cancer.

Throughout his treatment, Kristian kept his infectious humour, smile and laughter with which he was known for. He loved coming to school and even when he was unwell due to his treatment, he would attend to be with his friends and to attend his favourite class, Digital Technology. Kristian initially responded very well to his treatment and hopes of full recovery were very positive. Kristian started back at school in Year 8, well, and positive of full recovery.

Unfortunately, towards the end of 2021, it was found that the cancer had returned in his brain and spine. Kristian left St Thomas at the end of 2021 as his family endeavoured to try different treatment possibilities in Australia. This, however, couldn’t come soon enough. Kristian was finally relieved from his pain and now rests in peace. Rest in peace beautiful boy.

I attended his private family funeral on Wednesday. It was a fitting celebration of Kristian and his life, lots of tears, laughter and music. On Monday our students honoured Kristian with a powerful and passionate haka, prayer and song. Our love and prayers extend to Kristian’s family.

The following poem was read at Kristian’s funeral – it is most fitting;

IT CAME OUT OF NOWHERE – Author unknown

It came out of nowhere, 

The shadows of night, 

Cancer grabbed Kristian 

And started to fight. 

Memory after memory, 

Day after day, 

Missing the jokes, the laughter 

and play. 

We knew you were strong, 

We knew you were brave. 

Hoping the sickness would pass. 

Just like a wave. 

You said not to worry, 

You said you were okay. 

But that didn’t stop us 

From worrying day after day.

You stopped going to school. 

We didn’t see you around. 

That’s when we realized 

Your days were going down.

You began to grow weary, 

You began to slip, 

Sadly Kristian 

You lose your grip.

You’re up in heaven. 

You’re safe and sound, 

But it’s not the same not having you around.

Kristian’s favourite music was Queen. As I am writing this tribute, I am listening to one of his favourite songs, Bohemian Rhapsody. It is so often difficult to understand or find meaning in times like this. When I think of Kristian I think of bravery, courage, happiness and joy. Rest in love, our brother.

I have spent a lot of time this week reflecting on Kristian and his family, and how to honour Kristian. At his funeral on Wednesday there was so much love and connection – the best way we can honour Kristian is to love and connect. This weekend, go and hug your loved ones and tell them you love them – and if you have a moment, put on some Queen, turn it up loud, and think of Kristian.

Kristian Wang in Year 7 – 2020 — Image by: Lynley Gibson