New Zealanders Fight at Sydney Detention Centre, One Dead


Rob Peihopa was brawling with his fellow countrymen just before his death.

A group of New Zealand detainees brawled at a Sydney detention centre, leaving one of them dead. A 42-year-old detainee at a Sydney immigration detention centre has died after he was involved in a fight with his fellow countrymen. The exact cause of death will be released after an autopsy is held.

NSW Police told AAP the man was found unconscious and paramedics were unable to revive him at the Villawood detention centre, west of Sydney, about 9.45pm AEST on Monday.

The man from New Zealand has been named Rob Peihopa who died after a fight…Mr Lagaaia told AAP Mr Peihopa was involved in a disagreement with other detainees at the centre, and then collapsed and could not be saved by paramedics. source

Mr Peihopa moved to Australia in 1989 and served two years in prison for his involvement in a police chase. However, that was unlikely to have been his first or only offence. On the day of his release he was picked up by immigration officers after his visa was cancelled. He was in the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre with other Kiwi crims, waiting for his appeal against detention to be heard. New Zealanders also have the option to return to New Zealand and lodge their appeals there, but Peihopa obviously opted to remain in detention and ‘slug it out’.

Fighting with other Kiwis

Vaelua Lagaaia, a detainee at the centre, said all of the New Zealand detainees knew him, and performed a haka before he was taken away.

“Just before they were gonna load his body up, they gave us the opportunity to have a little farewell for him. They also let us do a haka for him as they were taking his body away.”

Mr Lagaaia said Mr Peihopa had been visiting other New Zealand detainees at a neighbouring compound, but everyone was tight-lipped about what happened.

He said his death was a shock, because he was a fit man who exercised regularly, but it could have been the stress.

“It’s not easy being in here…” more

Kiwi guys get bored, bash people up

New Zealanders had previously been involved with rioting at the Christmas Island detention centre in November last year. Other detainees said they felt terrorised by Kiwis at the centre:

Slovakian Matej Cuperka, 25, who is awaiting deportation for overstaying a tourist visa, said he fears for his life. “We’re pretty scared that the Kiwi guys are going to get in here when they get bored and they will start bashing people up,” he told The West Australian.

The dead man at the centre of the riots has been identified as Iranian Kurd Fazal Chegani, believed to have been aged in his 30s. Sources have said he was an asylum seeker who had been in the centre for five years…

“The disturbance follows an incident on Saturday (November 7) in which a detainee escaped from the centre,” said the department in a statement.

“A search and rescue operation was immediately undertaken however the escapee’s body was later discovered by search and rescue teams on Sunday at the bottom of island cliffs away from the centre…source

Alexander Tokorua Peihopa and Bailey Junior Kurariki

Alexander Peihopa

Alexander Peihopa was 15 when he was sentenced to life for the killing of Michael Choy. He was paroled in 2012.

It is not known whether Rob Peihopa is related to Alexander Tokorua Peihopa. Alexander, then aged sixteen, was an associate of Bailey Kurariki. Peihopa was charged with murder and Kurariki with manslaughter after Pizza Delvery worker Michael Choy died when he was beaten with a baseball bat in a robbery in Papakura, south Auckland in September 2001.

Alexander Peihopa was one of two main perpetrators in the unprovoked and premeditated murder of Mr Choy. Peihopa was six when he first came to the attention of authorities, and there were 11 separate occasions where agency interventions were recorded.

According to his facebook page, Rob Peihopa was from south Auckland.

Further reading

Kiwi Crims Terrorise Christmas Island Detainees, the Rise of the 501s




5 thoughts on “New Zealanders Fight at Sydney Detention Centre, One Dead

  1. Very interesting Admin. Here in Australia the incident was initially reported as a NZ citizen ‘has died’ in the detention centre.
    We should tear up that ridiculous Trans Tasman migration agreement immediately.

    • I think you would be hard pressed to find a written agreement to tear up,my understanding is that it’s a completely informal agreement between Australia and N.Z.

      • Yes, I know, I used the term ‘tear up’ to indicate how angry I am with the entire hare-brained scheme. Kiwi are welcome—on equal terms with other immigrants. Australia should stop treating NZ as a quasi state.

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