Two cyclists mourned
Friends and whanau have farewelled Sharla Phyllis Haerewa at her funeral in Christchurch, while further north another woman cyclist who died in a collision with a truck yesterday was being remembered.
Haerewa, 22, died after she was hit by a truck while cycling in Lincoln Rd, Christchurch about 6.40am on Wednesday last week.
In Palmerston North, Hokowhitu School deputy principal Jocelyn Lee Goodwin, 51, died yesterday morning in a crash with a milk tanker.
Haerewa's funeral at the Christchurch Polytechnic's Te Puna Wanaka Marae today was attended by about 800 people and her dog, Aroha.
She had died on her way to Christchurch Hospital to a job she loved, those gathered heard.
Her body was welcomed into the marae with a loud haka powhiri.
Mourners filled the seats, the floor and the entrance to the marae, the same place where she was welcomed on her first day of nursing training two years ago.
Those who spoke described Haerewa as quiet and shy at first, but bright and bubbly when she came out of her shell.
Haerewa was vegan and liked to stay fit, through running or softball and netball. She often tried to convince her partner, Andrew, to go running with her, one speaker said.
Cousins told stories about a "sweet, beautiful, loving and caring girl" who was protective of the people she loved, and could get away with anything with a smile.
She was also proud of her Maori heritage and culture, friends said.
She went everywhere with Aroha, and would not hesitate to stand up for those she loved.
Andrew, who she met at Cashmere High School, said: "Goodbye my love, go in peace."
Cathy Andrew, head of nursing at CPIT, said Haerewa, who was in her second year of training, excelled in the profession to the point where it was unusual.
"She wasn't a good nurse ... she was an exceptional nurse," she said.
Her nursing friend, Haidee Moore, said Haerewa, who she called "Sharla-la", was "such a gentle soul".
They often got to classes five minutes late because they talked and laughed too much on the walk there.
"I always admired your determination," she told her friend.
Moore and Haerewa went to Queenstown together and went jet-boating on the Waimakariri River on the weekend before Haerewa died – the last time Moore saw her friend.
"I'm so grateful we had that opportunity to go," she said.
"We had so many plans, but not enough time. You touched everyone with your infectious smile. We're all missing you like crazy."
In Palmerston North, Goodwin's husband of 27 years, Garry Wadsworth, said Goodwin had loved the freedom cycling gave her, as well as its social nature. She was also very good at it.
Time trials were where she excelled – Goodwin won numerous local masters events and was always near the front at national Masters Games.
"They were what suited her most and she loved them," Wadsworth said. "They were a combination of both her physical and mental strength."
As a young woman, Goodwin also represented New Zealand in whitewater kayaking and was a strong swimmer, Wadsworth said.
"She was always good at everything she wanted to do. She was a perfectionist.
"I just hope she didn't have to suffer."
Wadsworth met Goodwin at Teacher's College in Palmerston North in the early 1980s and the pair married in 1987.
In education circles Goodwin was well respected, particularly in children's literacy which Wadsworth said was the area of teaching she loved most.
"She was very friendly, quite outgoing with people, loved to talk with people and she loved to cook. And she could cook anything."
Wadsworth said he did not want Goodwin's death to be "another chapter in the war between motorists and cyclists".
"I feel really terrible for the truck driver, the poor bastard."
Hokowhitu School board of trustees chairman Brett Calkin said advice had been sought from a Ministry of Education crisis team and protocols had been set up to help staff and children cope with the news.
"All of those children in her new entrants class are obviously 5, a very close relationship.
"It's going to be particularly tough for those children, but while she's been at Hokowhitu School she's touched the lives of all of our children, including my own. She is a massive loss to our school."
Acting Detective Sergeant Shelley Ross, of the Manawatu CIB, said police were still piecing together what factors had led to the crash and it was too early to comment on any potential charges.
"The serious crash unit is investigating and officers are continuing to make inquiries and speak to witnesses."