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'Unbearable': Grieving whānau suffer double tragedy after toddler's driveway death

Author
Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Sat, 6 Jan 2024, 10:06AM
Azalea-Reign was accidentally run over and passed away in the early hours of the morning on January 5. Photo / Supplied.
Azalea-Reign was accidentally run over and passed away in the early hours of the morning on January 5. Photo / Supplied.

'Unbearable': Grieving whānau suffer double tragedy after toddler's driveway death

Author
Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Sat, 6 Jan 2024, 10:06AM

Whānau are paying tribute to the 20-month-old girl who died after being struck by a vehicle in a Kaitāia driveway. 

Azalea-Reign Kiani May Samuel was a “ray of sunshine” before she suddenly died on Friday, according to her family members. 

Mother Tuhiata Samuels had returned to Kaitāia from Auckland to bury her baby daughter Cartier who was stillborn on December 5 when the tragedy struck. 

“This [is] an absolutely heartbreaking time for our family,” a family spokesperson told the Herald today. 

Samuels decided to remain in Kaitāia for a month after burying Cartier where she would have family support. 

“Support is all we could offer to help her navigate her way through the pain of losing a child. 

“Yesterday, January [4], 2024 the unthinkable has happened,” the family spokesperson said. 

Whānau said Samuel’s only other child, Azealea-Reign, was accidentally run over in the driveway of the Kaitāia property. 

The girl’s parents drove her to Kaitāia Hospital after the incident, where medical staff determined she’d suffered critical injuries. 

The 20-month-old girl was flown by Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Auckland’s Starship Hospital but died on Friday morning, Detective Senior Sergeant Kevan Verry said. 

“The child was flown to Auckland’s Starship Hospital for specialist care, but sadly she succumbed to her injuries,” Verry said. 

“Our thoughts are with the family of the child at this time.” 

The family say Azalea-Reign died of a brain bleed. 

“She lost her baby a month ago and now having to bury her remaining living child is unbearable,” the family spokesperson said. 

The family is fundraising to support Samuels during the difficult time and said the funds will help cover the cost of Azalea-Reign’s funeral and ongoing bills. 

“Azalea-Reign was such a blessing, a true gift from God,” the Givealittle page for the mother says. 

“A beautiful ray of sunshine who had such an incredible soul. 

“We are simply without words to express the tremendous loss we feel.” 

Azalea-Reign will be laid to rest with Cartier, in Ahipara, Northland. 

“To lose one child is unimaginable however our beautiful, kind-hearted cousin has lost both her children within [four] weeks of each other. Our family is broken and our hearts are heavy.” 

Police are investigating the incident, which occurred when a vehicle was leaving the property. 

“Police will continue to speak to the family, as we investigate what occurred leading up to this incident. 

“This tragedy is a timely reminder for motorists to be extra watchful of children cycling and walking on our roads and footpaths during the school holidays.” 

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