Home' Greymouth Star : January 3rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
2 - Saturday, January 3, 2015
Family and friends of the first
road-crash victim for 2015 are
reeling over the death of a “beautiful
angel” known for her vibrant smile
Lavi “Lovey” Taimani, 22, was a
passenger in a car that crashed into
a lighting pole on the Southern
Motor way in Auckland at 6.15am
on New Year’s Day.
She died at the scene, near the East
Tamaki off ramp, and four of the six
other people in the car were taken
to Middlemore Hospital with minor
Police spokeswoman Noreen
Hegarty said it was likely speed and
alcohol were contributing factors.
It is understood Miss Taimani, an
Onehunga High School old girl, was
a student at Auckland University.
The holiday road toll now stands
at 14 -- double last year’s - with the
latest fatality occurring after a car
hit a tree in Canterbury last night,
killing its male driver.
The Toyota saloon ran off on
Lake Road at Leeston, near Lake
Ellesmere, and struck a tree about
11.20pm. The driver, who is expected
to be named later today, was found
dead at the scene, police said.
preparing to head home, the nation’s
road policing chief, Assistant
Commissioner Dave Cliff, issued
a plea for drivers to be vigilant.
“ Families have
away and now they should give
themselves plenty of time to reach
their destination,” he said.
Last year’s Christmas-New Year
road toll was seven, from a total of
193 reported injury crashes. But
the official holiday period was three
days shorter than this year’s -- which
ends at 6am on Monday.
Yesterday, police dealt with holiday
road fatality No 13 — a male
passenger killed in a three-car crash
The crash happened at the
Dinsdale roundabout in Hamilton
shortly after 2pm.
Two people, including a female
driver, were critically injured.
They and two others were taken to
Senior sergeant Kevin Anderson,
of the Waikato road policing group,
said the accident was a tragedy and
it was not yet clear how it occurred.
Last night, tributes to Ms Taimani
were flowing on Facebook.
Her aunt Nuku Havea wrote: “It
was an unfortunate, unforseeable
circumstance that no one saw
coming. We are so grateful that we
have her in our life.”
Her close friends were devastated
by the 22-year-old’s death.
“ Who said you were allowed to
leave?” Pepe Fuataga wrote. “ You
mean everything to me. You know
everything about me. You know
me better than I know myself ! I’m
trying my best to be strong and to
stop crying but how can I?”
Another friend who had spent
New Year’s Eve with Miss Taimani
said she was shattered.
“Hard to believe that you can
really be here one minute and
gone the next ... How is this even
Lovey was “the beautiful, smiley
and full of happiness girl that
News of Miss Taimani’s death
came after a police analysis of road
fatalities over the past 12 months
revealed a rise in the number of
passengers killed in accidents.
Of the 297 people fatally injured
in 2014, 69 were passengers -- up
from 49 in 2013 — and the number
of motorcyclists killed also increased,
from 36 to 43.
The number of road-crash victims
was up 17.4% on the 2013 total.
The age group with the highest
number of victims also changed.
In 2013, the biggest group was 40
to 59 but in 2014, it was 60-plus.
The number of babies and children
killed — 14 — was double the
For the fifth year in a row, the
area with the most fatal crashes
was Canterbury, where 38 people
lost their lives in 2014, followed
by Manawatu/Whanganui with 34
Mr Cliff said that generally, most
people “know and action” basic
road safety messages including
wearing seatbelts, staying alert,
driving within the speed limits and
ensuring they are well rested and
make everyday mistakes and
unfortunately a mistake while
driving can lead to death and injury,”
“ We have hundreds of families
dealing with the devastating loss
of a loved one and many more
supporting family members with
ongoing and in some cases lifelong
“At the end of the day, the goal is to
have all families travelling safely and
reaching their destinations together.
“One of the hardest jobs a police
officer will do is to tell a family that
one of their members has died as a
result of a car crash.”
Mr Cliff urged holidaymakers
returning home this weekend to
remember that tired drivers are
“Families have enjoyed time
away and now they should give
themselves plenty of time to reach
“Keep your focus on the road, and
factor in some all important rest
stops for everyone in your care.”
overtaking is not worth the lives of
you the driver, any of your passengers
or any other road user.”
New Zealand Herald
Holiday road toll now double last year’s
John Michael. — Three
years have passed.
Loved and remembered
Ann, Karen, Myron,
Jessica, and Erinn.
John Michael. —
I miss you Gus
You were one of a kind
January 3, 2012.
Old Fashioned Values,
Old Fashioned Ethics
January 2, 2014.
To our loving mother.
A year has passed since
you have gone.
We will never stop
loving you and never
forget the greatest Mum
we've ever met.
Brian and Carol.
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Accused expected to seek bail
with the motel murder of an
Auckland man will apply for bail
Leonard Nattrass-Berquist and
Beauen Wallace-Loretz, both
17, appeared in the Auckland
morning after being arrested
on Wednesday over the death
of 54-year-old Ihaia Gillman-
The pair appeared before a
Justice of the Peace who had
the jurisdiction only to remand
them in custody until Monday,
when the matter will go before
Applications to photograph
the accused were declined after
defence lawyer Murray Gibson
said their pictures were already
in the media and there was “not
much to be gained” from new
images. The court heard at least
one of the teens would make an
application for bail at the next
appearance. It is alleged the pair
were with Mr Gillman-Harris
when he checked into an Epsom
motel on Saturday.
Shortly after check-in, two
young men left in Mr Gillman-
An hour later he went to
reception with a serious head
injury and asked for help. He
died in hospital soon after.
Detective Inspector Scott
Beard would not comment
further on the specifics of the
investigation but said the victim’s
family were relieved arrests had
Mr Gillman-Harris was a
private man who worked for Kiwi
Rail as a team leader assistant in
Auckland’s Southdown freight
He spent Christmas Day in
Wellington before travelling to
Auckland on Boxing Day.
A post-mortem examination
revealed Mr Gillman-Harris
died as a result of blunt-force
trauma to his head but police
would not say if a weapon had
Family ‘still in shock’
The family of a 16-year-old
Auckland schoolboy who died
after being caught in a rip in
Northland have gathered at home
with friends to remember him.
Jarod Lineses was swimming at
Ninety Mile Beach on December
27 when he vanished, caught in
the undertow. Members of the
public discovered his body on
Thursday night, ending a five-day
vigil and search.
Last night, his distraught father
Randy and mother Connie were
at home in Auckland, trying to
make sense of the tragedy.
Mr Lineses said he was coping
but did not know what else to say.
The family had been hoping,
despite overwhelming odds, that
Jarod would be found alive five
days after vanishing from sight.
“They ’re still traumatised and
they ’re still in a state of shock,”
family friend Belen Caballes said.
A memorial ser vice is expected
to be held at St Mary’s in
Northcote at 11am on Tuesday.
Later, Jarod would be buried at
Schnapper Rock near Albany.
Jarod will lie in state at St Mary’s
from tomorrow night.
Ms Caballes described Jarod
as a quiet and “really lovely” boy
who enjoyed basketball, church
activities and playing chess with
She said the Lineses family
moved to New Zealand from the
Philippines about eight years ago.
Ms Caballes said Jarod loved
New Zealand and his school,
Rosmini College. She said Jarod
earlier told his parents he wanted
to study hard to make his parents
proud. Ms Caballes described the
events of December 27.
“Once a year we go out together.
Four or five families went up
north, just to have this holiday.
And on day one, we went to the
beach ... We arrived at Ninety
Mile Beach at 2 o’clock,” she said.
The families had lunch, then
headed for the water. About 20
minutes later, Jarod vanished.
Ms Caballes said a few locals
had said the beach was not
suitable for a swim, but there
were no signs advising against
swimming and the waters were
very calm, belying the powerful
rip beneath the surface.
“ When the water is quiet, that ’s
the most dangerous.”
Local authorities were now
considering installing warning
signs near the spot Jarod was lost,
Ms Caballes said.
On the day Jarod was swept
away, Hukatere Lodge owner
Gabriele Pfaender said she had
spoken to Mrs Lineses.
“It ’s terrible, it makes me sick
to think about it,” she said. “ The
sea is always different, one day it ’s
like a lake and you can go in and
other times it ’s a strong current
and you wouldn’t ... you’ve got to
be careful in the water always.”
Even as days passed without
sign of Jarod, the Lineses and
their family friends never lost
hope, praying every day, hoping
for a miracle.
“Parents never give up,” Ms
It seemed yesterday ’s news
brought no relief.
Ms Caballes said her own son
was in disbelief after hearing
what happened to Jarod. “My son
asked me: Why do good people
pass away that quick?” Jarod
also had an older sister, Patricia,
and a grandmother living in
Auckland. The family were last
night heading out to visit and
comfort the grandmother, who
Ms Caballes said was very close
“Hopefully he will be in Heaven
now with the L ord,” Ms Caballes
said. One of Jarod ’s close friends,
Fuila Euklaiti Vea, paid tribute to
his mate on Facebook. “A million
words would not bring you back.
I know because I’ve tried, and
neither will a million tears. I know
because I’ve cried. Continue to
Rest In Paradise.” — NZME
The family of the Tauranga man
who died trying to jump from
a light pole into a pool on New
Year’s Eve have spoken of the pain
of losing their “the heart of our
Ben Sargent, 20, missed the
swimming pool and hit the edge
when he attempted to leap into
the pool from a 10m light pole on
a tennis court at the Lytton West
home he and his friends were
visiting in Gisborne.
In a statement, Mr Sargent ’s
family said he was “the heart of our
family” and “he had all of the best
parts of each of us, and he made
them even better”.
“Ben was a loving, sensitive and
generous person with a wonderful
heart. He was quietly spoken,
polite and intelligent,” the family
“He had a large circle of friends,
was well-loved and popular, with a
warm presence that filled a room.
He was open and loving with his
friends and family.
“ Ben was talented at all sports
and a very skilled soccer player. In
earlier years, he was selected for
the Poverty Bay rep team.
“ He was playing with Lytton
High School when they won the
Bailey Cup, as one of the youngest
players on the team.
“ In recent years, he played
indoor soccer socially, where he
was well-liked and admired for
his ability. He was also a talented
“ He excelled in all areas. He
was renowned for picking up new
skills, mastering them quickly and
surpassing everyone else.”
Mr Sargent went to Makauri
School, Gisborne Intermediate
and then Lytton High School.
He moved to Tauranga at 17,
where he lived with his sister,
Ben was in the last year of his
flooring apprenticeship; his second
year results placed him in the top
5% in New Zealand.
A Tauranga friend Rikki-Lee
Dodunski, 18, said, “ We shared so
many amazing memories together.
“He was so much fun and always
had the biggest smile on his face.”
His death was a blow she was
struggling to come to terms with.
“It’s such a disturbance to me,
knowing he’s gone. I can’t sleep at
night,” Miss Dodunski said.
“He was the most caring person I
have ever met and I just truly can’t
believe he’s gone.”
Mr Sargent had left an impact on
many people, Miss Dodunski said.
“He’s imprinted his name in gold
in everyone’s heart. He had the
most fun and loving personality.
Family speaks of pain of losing
‘the heart of our family’
Car plunge victims named
Police have identified the occupants of a car
that crashed off the Wanganui River bridge
at Hari Hari late on Tuesday afternoon as
two tourists from South Korea.
Chilyoung Kim and Young-Mo Sang, both
59, had been in New Zealand for two days
before their car smashed through the railing
of the one-lane bridge.
It sparked a search effort by police, with a
helicopter flying up and down the river in an
attempt to find the car. But rain hampered
further search efforts, with the swollen river
The car containing their bodies was
eventually pulled from the river on Thursday,
two days after they had hit the water. Police
say family members from Seoul arrived in
New Zealand yesterday to formally identify
A crane was used on Thursday to haul out
the 2014 red Toyota Corolla, which was
found about 50m downstream from the
bridge. The car has been taken away to be
examined and the serious crash investigation
Eyewitnesses later told police of concerns
over the motorist ’s driving.
Eco Rafting Adventures owner operator
Josh James Marcotte was one of the first on
He criticised police for not letting him
enter the water and try and free them from
the car despite being a certified swift water
But police said that since Mr Marcotte
arrived “30 minutes” after the crash, there
were unlikely to be air pockets in the
submerged vehicle, as windows were most
likely smashed when it went through the
barrier and into the river.
“ We are not going to risk life and limb,”
West Coast area commander Inspector John
The deaths have been referred to the
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