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Family and friends gather to farewell teen killed in Invercargill crash

Author
Tom Dillane, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 28 Apr 2022, 12:01pm

Family and friends gather to farewell teen killed in Invercargill crash

Author
Tom Dillane, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 28 Apr 2022, 12:01pm

Friends and family of Maru Tawhai - one of the four teens killed in an Invercargill crash - have been arriving in large numbers to his marae this morning.

A tangi for 17-year-old victim O Maruhuatau Otuwhare Tawhai, known as Maru to those close to him, has been held at the Ngā Hau E Whā marae in Invercargill for several days.

A tangi for 17-year-old victim O Maruhuatau Otuwhare Tawhai, known as 'Maru' to those close to him, has been held at the Ngā Hau E Whā marae in Invercargill for several days. Photo / George Heard

A tangi for 17-year-old victim O Maruhuatau Otuwhare Tawhai, known as 'Maru' to those close to him, has been held at the Ngā Hau E Whā marae in Invercargill for several days. Photo / George Heard

O Maruhuatau Otuwhare Tawhai, known as Maru, was one of four teenagers killed in an accident in Invercargill when their vehicle collided with a concrete truck. Photo / Supplied

O Maruhuatau Otuwhare Tawhai, known as Maru, was one of four teenagers killed in an accident in Invercargill when their vehicle collided with a concrete truck. Photo / Supplied

Over an hour before a service for the teenager was to be held this morning at 11am, a congregation of loved ones and locals were lining Conon St.

Police and Maori wardens have now blocked off Conon St from traffic as they appear to be holding the service on the road outside the marae.

The crowd was huddling on the road surrounding a van where Tawahi's body will be placed for transportation to the cemetery. Hymns could be heard from inside the marae.

The body was placed in a van to transport to the Eastern Invercargill Cemetery following a haka. The crowd then began to disperse. Family could be seen hugging beside the van.

Maru died on April 22 in a head-on collision with a concrete truck on Queens Drive, Invercargill, shortly after 4pm.

In the ute with him were his three 16-year-old friends: Konnor Steele, Indaka Rouse and Kyah Kennedy. All of the local mates died at the scene of the crash.

The crash between a concrete truck and a ute took place just before 4pm on Friday. Photo / George Heard

The crash between a concrete truck and a ute took place just before 4pm on Friday. Photo / George Heard

Givealittle page has been set up by a friend of his family. So far the page has raised over $9000, which will go towards Maru's tangihanga.

"The whānau [is] losing a moko, nephew, cousin and friend. The community losing a handsome young man.

"Maru [is] a 17-year-old young beautiful, talented, caring and cheeky man [who] has been stolen, and hearts are suffering," the family friend wrote.

"Those who know and love Maru will be deeply saddened and I would like to put this page out to whanau & friends wide and far who want to tautoko (support) this whanau in their grief by supporting with [the] financial burden of what has already been a terrible tragedy."

The crowd was huddling on the road surrounding a van where Tawahi's body will be placed for transportation to the cemetery. Hymns could be heard from inside the marae. Photo / Tom Dilane

The crowd was huddling on the road surrounding a van where Tawahi's body will be placed for transportation to the cemetery. Hymns could be heard from inside the marae. Photo / Tom Dilane

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