Former Bachelorette New Zealand Star Tavita Karika Dead at 31

Alyssa Morin
·3 min read

The world of entertainment has lost a rising star.

Tavita Karika, who appeared on the first season of New Zealand's The Bachelorette and Heartbreak Island, has died at the age of 31.

The reality TV personality's family announced the heartbreaking news earlier this week on the online fundraising site Givealittle.

"With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our friend Tavita Antoni Karika," a statement read. "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."

At this time, it's unknown what the star's cause of death is.

Additionally, Tavita's former co-stars on both The Bachelorette and Heartbreak Island took to social media to express their condolences.

"I can confirm that Tavita did pass last night around midnight," Marc Johnson, Bachelorette alum, told New Zealand-based news outlet Stuff. "I can't tell you if it was before or after because it was just too emotional, and before I knew it four or five hours had passed."

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"I was with him in his final moments. There was a lot of family and friends," Marc shared, adding, "We've been best friends since we met on the show. His birthday was next month."

According to the publication, Tavita recently finished his barber's apprenticeship. Marc explained, "He was in a very happy point in his life...that was one of the last things that he said to me a few days ago. He cut my hair on Wednesday and did such an amazing job and that was the last time I saw him. He was a good guy and he loved everyone."

Tavita Karika
Tavita Karika

Past Bachelorette lead Lesina Nakhid-Schuster took to Instagram Stories with a heartfelt tribute of her former contestant.

"Tavita was a hilarious man with the best chuckle, and the best one liners," she recalled. "I loved hearing how enthusiastic he was about looking after his mum, learning about his gym and food routines, and creating funny handshakes together."

"I also really admired him opening the doors on the topic of mental health and some of his hardest times," she continued. "My heart goes out to Tavitas loved ones. Having the pleasure of meeting Tavita, I know what a truly devastating loss this is."

Harry Jowsey, who appeared on Heartbreak Island with Tavita, wrote, "I love you Tavita. I still can't process this, I'm numb. I don't know what to say. Please check in on your friends, even if they say they are fine."

Bachelorette alum Glenn Richards also shared a moving message on Instagram.

"We will remember your smile and your kind loving nature...," he wrote in part. "Tavita you were a Rock, a mountain of strength & at the 'after the final rose ceremony' when I was terrified and anxious to go on stage you told me 'stay strong bro you got this, everything's going to be alright' I believed you... When we sat down on that couch for the first time and Marc was sitting between us I looked over at you for reassurance & only the people in the audience behind us could see it, but you grabbed my hand & held it because you knew how scared I was to be back in front of the cameras after how they portrayed me..."

"Brother I just want to thank you for everything & showing me your true loving self & kind nature," he continued. "I will carry on in this life to do my best and be my best in honor of your name and everything you stood for, from one Personal trainer to another, I get you & I got you and will see you again one day brother, I love you so much, thanks for everything."