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Crash victims named by police; holiday road toll at 15

Lincoln Tan,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Jan 2024, 12:31PM
Photo / Cameron Avery
Photo / Cameron Avery

Crash victims named by police; holiday road toll at 15

Lincoln Tan,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Jan 2024, 12:31PM

Fifteen people have died on New Zealand roads over the Christmas holiday period as of New Year’s Day. 

But police said despite crashes on our roads being the leading cause of death, the 340 road-related deaths in 2023 were down 34 from last year. 

The holiday toll period, however, started on December 22 at 4pm and officially ends at 6am on January 3. 

Police have named Pāpāmoa man Brayden Tawa, 27, Hamilton woman Louise Quinn, and Aucklander Wenxuan Li, 22, among those who tragically lost their lives in fatal crashes during the holidays. 

Tawa was killed in a crash between a car and a truck at the intersection of Aerodrome Rd and Hewletts Rd/State Highway 2, Mount Mauganui, on December 27. 

Police said Tawa was the front-seat passenger of the car, and the driver and a back-seat passenger survived the crash with minor injuries, as did the driver of the truck. 

Brayden Tawa died in a crash between a car and a truck at Mount Maunganui.

Brayden Tawa died in a crash between a car and a truck at Mount Maunganui. 

“Rest in love beautiful boy xoxo,” Tawa’s aunt Sinnae Ronald posted on Facebook. 

“Even though I’m so far away you still always check in on me to make sure I’m solid. 

“Will miss talking ***t and checking in with you and your shenanigans. 

“Will always remember you as my cheeky-ass nephew who put a hedgehog in my tent at school camp.” 

A police spokesman said the investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing and extended police condolences to his family. 

Louise Quinn died after falling off a quad bike in rural Waikato. Photo / Supplied

Louise Quinn died after falling off a quad bike in rural Waikato. Photo / Supplied 

Quinn was found dead after falling off a quad bike on Rauparaha St in Marokopa, which the Herald understands is her holiday home in rural Waikato. 

“For those that may not know, Louise died in a tragic accident, at her holiday home in Marokopa,” a family member said in a tribute. 

“I don’t think I need to go into details, however, my belief is it was quick and she was free of pain within seconds.” 

The person said family were to arrive from Ireland yesterday morning. 

“Our family will arrive from Ireland on Sunday morning for her funeral to take place tomorrow, Tuesday,” the family member said. 

“Lou, you have been taken from us too soon and will be greatly missed by everyone. Rest in peace,” Rhian Geenty posted. 

Wenxuan Li died after a serious crash at Whakamaru shortly before 1.30pm, two days before Christmas. 

Police said Li was an Auckland resident and inquiries into the circumstances were ongoing. 

“Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” police said. 

Two separate car crashes in Christchurch and Te Puru in the lead-up to New Year’s Eve took the holiday road toll to 15. 

Two people died in a crash between two cars and a motorbike in Tunnel Rd in Christchurch shortly before midnight on Saturday. 

Two others suffered critical injuries and one other person was seriously injured, police said. 

About 8.45 that evening, a person was killed when a car crashed into water in Te Puru in the Coromandel. 

A second person in the car suffered serious injuries. 

On December 28, two people died as a result of a crash between a car and a petrol tanker west of the Kaimāī Summit. 

Other fatal crashes this holiday period include a person dying in a crash in Prebbleton southwest of Christchurch on Boxing Day. 

One person died after a single-vehicle crash on Methven Highway (State Highway 77) in the suburb of Allenton near Ashburton on Christmas morning. 

Another person died after fleeing a police checkpoint in Whangārei. 

Police found the vehicle in Beach Rd. The driver died at the scene. 

Police also recovered two bodies from a Far North stream where an ATV carrying six people rolled over. 

The two died after the vehicle went into the swollen Waikāinga Stream about 5.15pm last Friday. 

Four people managed to get out of the water but searchers scoured the area looking for the remaining two. 

A rāhui has been placed on the stream, barring anyone from swimming or fishing. 

Kāumātua from local marae Kauhanga have placed a rāhui on the Waikāinga from Shephards Rd to the Pēria Saleyards bridge. 

The tight-knit Peria community was “devastated” by the incident, and Far North District Mayor Moko Tepania told RNZ it was “really tragic” to hear of the crash. 

He said the community in Peria would be devastated and the district council had offered any support it could. 

Last year, the Christmas-New Year road toll was 21. 

According to the Ministry of Transport’s latest data, on Friday afternoon, the provisional road death toll for 2023 was 343. 

The ministry’s road fatality data is updated daily. 

“While crashes on our road continue to be a leading cause of death, we have provisionally seen 340 road-related deaths in 2023, which was down 34 from 2022,” police said. 

“Despite this, our holiday road deaths currently sit at 15. 

“We have already equalled last year’s number of deaths in the same holiday season, with two days still remaining.” 

The spokesman said while it was worth noting the reduction in overall deaths, there were “still too many people who didn’t get to spend the festive season with loved ones”. 

“Speed, alcohol and drugs, and distraction are still the main causes of death and serious injury,” police said. 

“Wearing your seatbelt can also be the difference between surviving a crash and not.” 

Roads continue to be busier than usual during the holiday season as people travel around the country. 

“Please be patient, plan your trips, drive sober and pull over if you are feeling tired,” police urged. 

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