Bereaved partner had lost mum too
An Ashburton man who was preparing to bury his mother must now also farewell his partner.
Teariki "TK" Akaroa will next week fly to Rarotonga to fulfil his partner Marae Judy Dean's final wish - to be buried in her homeland. Dean, 52, was one of two drivers killed in a head-on collision on State Highway 1 at Bankside, south of Dunsandel, about 1.15pm on Monday.
A rental vehicle driven by Indian tourist Gaurav Bhabhera, 28, drifted across the centre line into the path of her north-bound car.
Akaroa was driving a car behind Dean's and witnessed the crash. Dean's daughter, Diana Poriomaka, said the couple and other relatives were on the way to Christchurch to get Akaroa passport photos.
He was planning to fly to Rarotonga tomorrow for his mother's funeral. He will now wait until after Dean's funeral in Ashburton on Sunday and go there with her body.
Last night Poriomaka said Akaroa, who had been with her mother for six years, was "taking it hard". His vehicle was also caught up in the crash.
"He said when his car finally stopped he ran to see if she was all right," Poriomaka said.
"Every time we try to talk to him about it he just breaks down."
Poriomaka said her mother was a happy, loving and family- oriented woman who would "help anyone".
Dean, who has two daughters, also raised three nieces after her sister died from cancer years ago.
A great cook, Dean's specialty was raro salad - "no-one could make it like her".
Poriomaka lived in Hastings, and they spoke on the phone often.
Her death was yet to sink in, she said.
Poriomaka said the family was feeling angry and upset about the crash.
"I don't know how it happened. How did he lose control? We won't get Christmas with her."
Bhabhera's wife, Jaina Bhabhera, was in the passenger seat. Yesterday she remained in a serious condition in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit.
The Mumbai couple's family are due to arrive in Christchurch today. The couple married in March 2011. An itinerary found in their rental car showed they had been planning the trip for some time.
Bhabhera posted on Facebook on November 20 that they were in Auckland and were waiting for a bus to the Waitomo glow worm caves. Jaina Bhabhera was a doctor and owned the VishwaCare clinic in Mumbai, according to her Facebook page.
A female passenger in Dean's vehicle - Akaroa's niece, in her 20s - is also in hospital in a comfortable condition.