Tributes Online - Maria Claire Solouota

Maria Claire Solouota

7/12/1962 - 22/03/2024

Maria Claire Solouota, 7 December 1962 – 22 March 2024.
Mrs. Maria Claire Solouota, passed away peacefully on 22nd March 2024 at Wellington Regional Hospital, surrounded by her closest family members and friends. Maria was 61 years young.

Maria was born 7th December 1962 in Makefu Village, Niue Island. She is the daughter of the late Ikivihi Pakau and Margaret Fakamua Palaua Tuineau Pahemotu Vilipaama, adoring sister to Tonie Ikivihi, Joanne Vilipaama-Mokalei, Dave Vilipaama and Elisa Ella Vilipaama. Maria and Tonie together with their cousin Mele Tuineau were bought up by their late maternal grandparents, Ikimana and Tukutupe Tuineau.

Maria was the beloved wife of Salle Solouota, devoted mother of two beautiful daughters Lannamarie Vanessa and Sapphirerose Margaret, and an amazing grandmother to J’mon Dave Salle, Jemarliyah Psalm Atalini, Jireh Marie Faith Zephyr-Rose, Sinclaire Friday, and Shaylin LaSalle.

Maria was an incredibly generous and exceptional woman known for her kindness and generous nature, and for her active support within the wider community and to the Wellington Niuean community, including the Pacific Island Presbyterian Church of Newtown, St. James Presbyterian Church-Newtown, Elim Church, and Kilbirnie Presbyterian Church (Niue Ofaga ha Keriso) where she most recently attended and as an elder/deacon. She was a member of NZ Police Women’s Advisory Network, a steering member for the Mana Wahine group, Police Women’s Advisory Network Group (WANG) Wellington Pacific Advisory Group (PAG) and a supportive friend to all she met through work, community, and the church.

Maria left Niue at the age of 6, turned 7 on the boat, before reaching Aotearoa. She attended Mt Cook School and Wellington East Girls’ College. After college, Maria started work at UDC Finance, the beginning of a career journey that ended with her being a much-respected employee of New Zealand Police, where she was an invaluable support to her colleagues and provided the empathy and adaptability necessary to handle the fast-paced work, including a deployment in 2019 to Christchurch as a member of the Disaster Victim Identification team.

In her early twenties Maria met her life partner in Salle, who had also moved to Wellington from Niue Island. They had two daughters and grew their family and their faith together, taking an active role in raising their grandchildren while Maria still made time for dance, social sports including netball, and membership on various local boards and committees. Some highlights include her time as Leader for the Niuean Sialetafa Group, and when she was co-leader with her sister Joanne for the first Arts festival ever held at Niue Island – She had a real passion for her Niuean heritage.

Wherever she went, Maria brought light and love to those around her. Friends remember her as kind, generous, and devoted to her career, church, and family. She was known for her knowing smile, sage life advice, and the maxim she inherited from her grandmother: “take the good, leave the bad”.

In her early fifties, Maria suffered a heart attack. With the support of the medical doctors and the love of her family and friends, Maria recovered well enough to continue pursuing her life’s interests and welcoming two more beautiful grandchildren and moving to Tawa to stay close to them. Maria also continued her favourite pastimes of community service, arts, and crafts with her family to actively serving her church and sharing her faith at every opportunity.

Maria was admitted to hospital on Tuesday 19 March with health concerns and was deemed to have likely suffered a second heart attack. She was transferred to the ICU where her closest family and friends visited around the clock with love, prayers, and support until she took her last breath late Friday night.

All are invited to join the celebration of Maria’s life at Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church – Newtown (PIPC) at 10am on Thursday, 4 April.

A family service will be held at the Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church – Newtown on Wednesday, 3 April at 4pm.

Refreshments will be provided after each service.

The livestream link for Thursday's Funeral Service is:


Service Information
Date: 4/04/2024 Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church
Daniell Street
Newtown, Wellington
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