Principal remembers train victim Keenan Matthes as a 'tremendous young man' video

Massey High School principal said the loss of Keenan Matthes was a great shock to the community.
MASSEY HIGH SCHOOL/SUPPLIED

Massey High School principal said the loss of Keenan Matthes was a great shock to the community.

The principal of a teenager killed by a train in Auckland said he was a rising rugby star with "the world at his feet".

Keenan Matthes, 16, was tragically killed at 7am on Thursday in Ranui, West Auckland. 

Police said he was out for a run with his headphones in and didn't hear the train coming and was struck down while crossing the tracks. 

BEVAN READ

Matthes was hit by a train in Ranui on Thursday morning.

He died at the scene. 

READ MORE: Teenager killed by train was jogging and wearing headphones

 
Matthes has been remembered as a "beloved son".
SUPPLIED

Matthes has been remembered as a "beloved son".

Glen Denham, the principal of Massey High School, said he would be sorely missed. 

"The world was a great place with Keenan Matthes in it, and it's just not as good today."

Denham took a bunch of Matthes' peers to see the family and pay their respects on Friday morning.

Matthes was wearing headphones when he crossed the tracks and was unaware of the oncoming train.
BEVAN READ/FAIRFAX NZ

Matthes was wearing headphones when he crossed the tracks and was unaware of the oncoming train.

"We took a bunch of about 50 boys that played rugby with him down to be with his whanau this morning and we all just cried.

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"I don't know what to say, it is just a massive tragedy - even boys that had left school came with us - we just loved him, that's all."

He said Matthes would be remembered as a great rugby player as well as being a leader of the school's Samoan cultural group at Polyfest.

"He's hard working and comes from a great family.

"He would have been captain of the first XV next year and, odds are, he would have been a senior prefect too, he had the world at his feet - he had leadership written all over him.

"He was the type of guy to just knock on my window and come in for a minute or two to talk rugby, he was just one of those tremendous young men."

The school was planning a memorial for Matthes.

Matthes' cousin Lauren Clark said she wanted to thank the "beautiful" community that had rallied together.

"[It's] touching they have decided to do a food collection and will be dropping off [donations] tomorrow. I was just shocked and amazed, it feels amazing to read [messages on social media] and know there are so many beautiful people out there.

"We've just got to remember to be kind to each and look after our beautiful babies," Clark said.

Further tributes have been pouring in online. 

Bobby Taitai, who said he was a friend of the family, said the incident "breaks my heart".

"My heart goes out to the uso and sis at this time ... Manuia lou malaga."

Police Senior Sergeant Richie Thompson said family members were out looking for the boy when he didn't return home from the run, and happened across the scene.

"It was a very emotional scene for all involved - this is the scenario that every parent fears the most and we extend our utmost sympathies to the boy's family."

Matthes' death was referred to the Coroner.

 - Stuff

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