Michael Wayne Puriri was born Sept. 22, 1962, in Hamilton, New Zealand, to Rakaipaka Puriri II and Margie Ahmu Puriri. He was the third son of Ra and Margie, and the fourth of six children.
He spent almost the first decade of his life in New Zealand, but at age 9, Michael’s parents moved their family to Cerritos, California. He lived in California for five years before moving with his family to Alpine, Utah, a place many of the Puriris still call home. After graduating from American Fork High School, Michael served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission.
As a young boy, Michael would often go to work with his father, who was a plumber. He would later follow in his father’s footsteps and became a plumber himself. In his 20s, along with older brother Colin, they began their own plumbing business, Island Plumbing, and would travel all throughout Utah, Nevada and California for work. While working in southern California, Michael lived in Apple Valley, California, and it was there that he met the family of the girl he would marry.
Kristina Blunck had known who Michael was for some years. Her sister had married one of his good friends, and while she attended BYU-Hawaii, she was friends with many of his relatives. In winter of 1997, Michael took Kristina snowmobiling for their first date, and the rest was history. On March 7, 1998, they were sealed for time and all eternity in the St. George, Utah Temple. They had six children: TeRani, Mikaera David, Tali, Marcus Irie, Tiari and TessiMoana.
Rugby was always a huge part of Michael’s life. During his early years in New Zealand, Michael quickly became a star of the game. Unfortunately, moving to America meant being away from the game. Even though he excelled at sports like football and track, rugby was always his first love. Following his mission, along with his brothers and father, they started the United Men’s Rugby Club in Utah County. Later, in 1998, the brothers started the Lone Peak High School Rugby Club, later named the United Rugby Club.
In 2006, Michael and Kristina moved their family south to Santa Clara, Utah. It was there that Michael met another fellow rugby enthusiast, Jay Day. Together, they started the Snow Canyon rugby club. Despite winning numerous tournaments and state championships, the thing that Michael was always most proud of was the boys he coached. Hundreds of young men came through the program, and it was always Michael’s highest priority to make sure the boys had a positive experience, which was something he was able to accomplish year after year.
Michael and Kristina lived in Santa Clara for sixteen years. While there, he started his own plumbing business, Kiwi Plumbing & Heating, which allowed him to meet many individuals and grow his ever-expanding circle of friendship. In the summer of 2022, he moved his family to Hawai’i, a place he and Kristina had always dreamed of moving to. Settling in Hau’ula, O’ahu, just outside of La’ie, the Puriris quickly made themselves a new home, surrounded not only by beautiful beaches and ocean but by many family members and many new friends.
One of the most important things in life to Michael was the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. His testimony and belief in the Savior was unwavering and he always looked for opportunities to share what he knew to be true with others. He served faithfully in many church callings. He made it his goal in life to live like Jesus Christ; to always serve and help others, to love people no matter who they were or where they came from, and to always share the truth. No matter what the trial was, he always looked forward with faith, and to the hope that comes in and through Jesus Christ.
Michael was preceded in death by his father Rakaipaka (October 2022) and younger brother, Hata (December 2020). He is survived by his wife Kristina and children- TeRani (Darrin), Mikaera David, Tali (Abinadi), Marcus Irie, Tiari and TessiMoana. He’s survived by his siblings Rakaipaka (Lani), Moana (James), Colin (Coi), Teresa Puriri and Telisa (JR) and many aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins around the world.
Funeral services will be held Friday, Dec. 22, at 11 a.m., in the Santa Clara Heights Stake Center, 1705 Desert Dawn Drive, Santa Clara. A viewing will be held at the Stake Center on Thursday, Dec. 21, from 5-8 p.m., and on Friday morning from 9-10:30 a.m. prior to the services. Burial will be in the Santa Clara Cemetery.
Kia Kaha! Te Mana!
To livestream services or to share condolences, visit the McMillan Mortuary website.