Grieving parents don't blame driver

WILMA MCCORKINDALE
Last updated 17:35 19/05/2014
Danielle Ngametua Kiriau
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TRAGIC LOSS: Danielle Ngametua Kiriau, 17, was believed to be in a relationship with the driver of the Honda Integra.

Shannon James Kiriau
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CRASH VICTIM: Shannon James Kiriau, 22, died at the scene, police said.

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"I love you, Mum," Shannon Kiriau told his mother as he headed out on Saturday night.

Hours later he was dead, killed in a crash on Dunedin's southern motorway.

His sister Danielle Kiriau, 17, died with him. Unrestrained by a seatbelt she was flung from the unwarranted modified Honda Integra driven by her boyfriend Cameron Presland.

The car crashed into a pole and tree.

Shannon, 22, and Danielle were the oldest children of Nai Kiriau and Beverley De Blecourt of North Taieri, who were surrounded by family and friends today.

"And that's the last thing he ever said to me: I love you mum ... and that was it, " De Blecourt told Fairfax Media.

Three others were hurt in a crash police said showed road safety messages were being ignored.

Presland, 20, is stable in Dunedin Hospital's high dependency unit. Courtney Donald, 17, is in intensive care, Caitlin Adams, 16, has been discharged.

Shannon loved and excelled at rugby through his primary school years and was about to get back into it.

He was quiet and he loved people, his father said.

De Blecourt said Shannon would do things for other people he would not do for himself.

"On the outside he was quite boisterous, like most young people he had his problems," she said.

The siblings grew up in a tight-knit community living in what used be a New Zealand Air Force barracks.

They had had the same friends since their kindergarten days, De Blecourt said.

"They still all go out together."

Danielle was a sporty, arty all-rounder.

She had won a prize at the Smoke Free Rockquest while in year 10 at Taieri College for a song she wrote and performed.

She had done modelling and was good at athletics. She had been living at Presland's house, closer to her work at Finegand freezing works in south Otago.

"She could do almost anything she put her mind to," De Blecourt said.

"They were both good kids generally - sporting, caring, loving kids."

Taieri College principal David Hunter said the school would offer her family support. "Things are pretty raw down here," he said.

"Obviously very poor decisions have been made by these young people," he said. "It's really sad. Another waste."

Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said young people were still not getting the message about the dangerous mix of alcohol, not wearing seatbelts and driving at speed.

The car had not passed a warrant of fitness since early 2012, and had an uncertified modified turbo, police said. It was amazing anyone survived.

De Blecourt understood her children went to a Dunedin party on Saturday night.

"My initial thoughts are they were stupid," she said.

"I mean the girls should have been wearing seatbelts. It could have made a difference. Unfortunately they made the wrong decisions.

"If you have the opportunity to get a ride home [with a sober driver], do it."

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They said they did not want to blame the driver.

"He survived, he has internal injuries. He killed two people. When you think about it he's got a life sentence now," De Blecourt said.

"Not that that makes it any easier for anybody else."

The couple hoped to hold a funeral on Thursday or Friday.

SOBER DRIVER GROUP SHUT DOWN

Friends said the siblings might still be alive if the Facebook group Dunedin Sober Drivers still existed.

On the site, volunteer drivers networked to give rides home to those who had been drinking 15 kilometres away in Dunedin and could not afford taxis.

It closed after police enforced the requirement for drivers to be properly licensed to carry passengers, as fees or petrol were exchanged for a ride.

Keryn Tamatea said she had been a driver.

"It makes it a lot harder on the community if you have to pay for a taxi now," she said.

"It costs $50 just to get from here to town."

A police spokesman said the Land Safety Transport Authority was behind the clampdown. 

- The Southland Times

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