A Tongan family in New Zealand have been ripped apart after a mother was killed in a horror smash while her three-year-old daughter remains in Rotorua Hospital in a stable condition.
Siokāpesi Tu’ivai, 44, also known as Pesi, died in a crash which claimed four lives yesterday afternoon at the intersection of State Highway 1 and Tutukau Road, Taupo.
A 65-year-old woman, 60-year-old man and a five-year-old boy travelling in one vehicle were killed, along with Tu’ivai in the other vehicle, according to Police.
A 42-year-old man remains in a critical condition in intensive care, and a 32-year-old woman is in a stable condition, at Waikato Hospital.
A 10-month-old baby suffered critical injuries in the crash and was transferred from Waikato Hospital to Starship overnight, Police said.
Three females, aged 2, 17 and 66 including Tu’ivai’s daughter, all remain in Rotorua Hospital in stable conditions.
A fifth woman, aged 42, who was taken to Rotorua Hospital was not admitted.
Tu’ivai was ordained as a preacher in Auckland over the weekend before she was returning to Palmerston North with seven others.
Heart broken tributes over the family’s loss have been posted to social media.
‘Today we all lost an amazing lady who helped our church community so much,’ one friend wrote.
‘Pesi we just chat the other day and I did not know that was our last day together. I know you’ll be in heaven my friend. We’ll pray for you. My condolences go to your family.’
“This is an absolutely devastating event on our roads and Police extend their sympathies to the loved ones of all of those involved,” said Senior Sergeant Nicky Cooney, Acting Bay of Plenty Road Policing Manager.
“The investigation is in the very early stages but what is clear is that the vehicles have impacted head-on.
“It will take some time for the SCU to establish more facts.
“At the moment our priority is ensuring support is provided to those who need it following this tragedy.
“Any death or serious injury on our roads is one too many, the number of people an event like this affects is awful,” says Senior Sergeant Nicky Cooney.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.
“Everyone needs to think about their driving habits and keep safety at the forefront of their minds every time they hop in a vehicle.
Police asked anyone who witnessed the crash, or has information which may help the Police investigation, to contact Taupo Police on 07 378 6060.
“We are not in a position to release the names of victims at this stage, this will be done once we’re satisfied all next of kin are notified.