The names of those killed in Monday’s triple-fatal crash near Te Araroa have been released.
They are 43-year-old woman Tiny Tibble, 14-year-old boy Ashton-Lee Rangihuna, and 10-year-old girl Ana-Roimata Rangihuna.
The trio were killed yesterday morning after her vehicle left State Highway 35 just north of Te Araroa, hit a tree and rolled.
Lance Rangihuna – the woman’s partner and children’s father – died in a crash at the same site a month earlier.
Ashton-Lee had paid tribute to his father as “a real hard worker and the best dad I could ever ask for”.
Detective Sergeant Eric Hunter said inquiries into the circumstances of yesterday’s crash were ongoing and the matter would be referred to the coroner.
“This was an absolute tragedy and there will be many in the community affected,” Hunter said.
“Police, Victim Support and other partner agencies are working to support the whānau, friends and community.”
Yesterday’s crash has left the tight-knit Te Araroa community of about 200 people where “everybody knows each other” in shock at what is being described as an “unimaginable” tragedy.
Emergency services responded to yesterday’s crash, near Tokata Rd just past Karakatuwhero Bridge, about 5.45am.
The four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser was on its roof on the side of the road when the first fire crew arrived.
Te Araroa and Tikitiki firefighters responded, along with police. St John Ambulance from Ruatoria was also called out. St John officers pronounced the victims dead at the scene.
Pahuru-Huriwai confirmed the victims were from the same whānau as the crash on October 15 which happened in the same place, but declined to comment further as police had not yet formally released their names.
On October 15 Rangihunadied just before 7.30am in a single-vehicle crash.
Police were continuing their investigation into the cause of that crash and would not comment further, a spokeswoman said.
Te Araroa fire chief Dick Cook attended both crashes and knew the whānau personally.
“It was exactly the same place, the same tree,” he told the Herald.
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