Same tree claims lives in two NZ crashes

Ben McKay
·1-min read

The isolated New Zealand town of Te Araroa is in mourning after four members of one family died in separate car accidents at the same place a month apart.

On October 15, Lance Rangihuna was killed on State Highway 35.

On Monday morning, police confirmed the deaths of three locals at the same spot near Karakatuwhero Bridge.

They named them as 43-year-old Tiny Tibble, 14-year-old boy Ashton-Lee Rangihuna and 10-year-old girl Ana-Roimata Rangihuna.

Local media are reporting Ms Tibble was Mr Rangihuna's partner.

"This was an absolute tragedy and there will be many in the community affected," said Detective Sergeant Eric Hunter.

Both crashes happened early morning and involved the cars leaving the road, crashing into a tree.

"It was exactly the same place, the same tree," Te Araora chief fire officer Dick Cook told the New Zealand Herald.

"We are in a small rural area, everybody knows everybody. It's really tough."

Te Araroa, which bears the same name as New Zealand's iconic tip-to-tail 3000km walking track and means 'the long path' in te reo Maori, is near the northeast tip of North Island and has 200 residents.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz told the Herald the whole region was in a sombre mood.

"They had a death a while ago and then this today, so everyone is hurting and are sending support to the family involved," she said.