Published On: Mon, May 3rd, 2021

Bachelorette NZ: Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster pays tribute to late Tavita Karika

Former New Zealand Bachelorette Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster has paid tribute to one of her contestants who died suddenly last week.

Tavita Karika, a personal trainer and barber, died on Thursday night at the age of 31, leaving his friends and family devastated.

After learning the sad news, Dr Nakhid-Schuster remembered Tavita for his sense of humour and bravery in speaking about mental health issues.

‘Rest in peace, Tavita’: Former New Zealand Bachelorette Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster (pictured) has paid tribute to one of her contestants who died suddenly last week

‘I wanted to take some time to think about what I wanted to say,’ she wrote on Instagram Stories. 

‘Tavita was a hilarious man with the best chuckle, and the best one-liners.

‘I loved hearing how enthusiastic he was about looking after mum, learning about his gym and food routines, and creating funny handshakes together.

‘I also really admired him opening the doors on the top of mental health and some of hardest times.’

Tragedy: Tavita Karika (pictured), a personal trainer and barber, died in Wellington on Thursday night at the age of 31, leaving his friends and family devastated

Tragedy: Tavita Karika (pictured), a personal trainer and barber, died in Wellington on Thursday night at the age of 31, leaving his friends and family devastated

Instagram tribute: After learning the sad news, Dr Nakhid-Schuster remembered Tavita for his sense of humour and bravery in speaking about mental health issues

Instagram tribute: After learning the sad news, Dr Nakhid-Schuster remembered Tavita for his sense of humour and bravery in speaking about mental health issues

Dr Nakhid-Schuster continued: ‘My heart goes out to Tavita’s loved ones. Having had the pleasure of meeting Tavita, I know what a truly devastating loss this is.

‘Rest in peace, Tavita.’ 

Tavita was found dead by his best friend and Bachelorette co-star Marc Johnson in Wellington, New Zealand, late Thursday night.

'I was with him in his final moments': Tavita was found dead by his best friend and Bachelorette co-star Marc Johnson (right)

‘I was with him in his final moments’: Tavita was found dead by his best friend and Bachelorette co-star Marc Johnson (right)

‘I can confirm that Tavita did pass last night around midnight,’ Marc confirmed to Stuff on Friday.

‘I got there about 10 minutes into the ambulance crew being at the scene, and about 10 to 15 minutes after that they informed us that they cannot help him,’ he added.

‘I was with him in his final moments. There was a lot of family and friends.’

Tavita’s cause of death has not been revealed. 

Flashback: The late reality star first shot to fame on the Kiwi dating show Heartbreak Island in 2018 (pictured)

Flashback: The late reality star first shot to fame on the Kiwi dating show Heartbreak Island in 2018 (pictured)

Tavita was born in Christchurch but later moved to Wellington after finding fame on reality television. 

Friends have since started a GoFundMe to raise money to transport his body back to Christchurch and to help with funeral costs.

‘With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our friend Tavita Antoni Karika,’ they wrote in the GoFundMe.

Fame: Tavita was a standout contestant on last year's season of The Bachelorette NZ

Fame: Tavita was a standout contestant on last year’s season of The Bachelorette NZ

‘On the 29th of April 2021 Tavita took his last breath and with that our hearts. If you had the pleasure of knowing Tavita you will know just how difficult this is for his family, friends and all who loved him.

‘We are wanting to raise as much as we can to help Tavita’s family with funeral costs and getting our boy home.’

In addition to appearing on The Bachelorette last year, Tavita was also a contestant on the 2018 season of the Kiwi dating show Heartbreak Island.

Outside of television, he worked as a model and personal trainer and had just completed a barber’s apprenticeship before his death.

Ambitions: Outside of television, he worked as a model and personal trainer and had just completed a barber’s apprenticeship before his death

Ambitions: Outside of television, he worked as a model and personal trainer and had just completed a barber’s apprenticeship before his death

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