Connor loses cancer battle

This video was first published December 11, 2018. Connor lost his battle against cancer on December 26, 2018. 


A senior rugby player fighting stage four gastro-oesophageal cancer has succumbed to his illness after a six-month battle.

Connor Pokoati, 26, was told in June he had cancer and had only three to four months to live without treatment. He died on Boxing Day.

The Star reported Mr Pokoati’s battle in November. He said the treatment process had been “soul-destroying” but he was going to fight until the end.

In December just weeks before he died, Connor discussed his fears and hopes in an interview with CTV. The video has been viewed widely.

Mr Pokoati’s younger sister, Tisean Pokoati, said his family and closest friends were with him when he died.

“I can tell everyone, his friends far and wide that he fought right until the last second . . . We are all heartbroken and lost for words as we thought this day would never ever come.”

Connor with his family.

Mr Pokoati had just passed his Masters of Arts in European Union Studies at Canterbury University and was planning to move to Singapore for an internship. He played senior rugby for New Brighton.

Mr Pokoati had created a blog, Cancer battler for life, where wrote about his diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and family.

“I realised there might be an audience for my story. A story that could help people in similar situations, or for people who are dealing with other types of issues,” he wrote.

Through his writing, he hoped to inspire people in similar situations and give credit to those who helped him.

“As they say, the path can be a lonely one, however, I would like to touch on those who have helped me, carried me, cradled me, comforted me on this seemingly never-ending road. They are seen in my family, both blood and chosen, as well as close friends who have helped raise my spirits when they haven’t been at the highest,” he wrote.