Flowers remain on the desk of Thames Coromandel District Council staff member Beverly Bremner.
The bouquet was sent last week from her Australian-based husband Steve who was planning to follow his wife back to New Zealand by the end of the year.
Mrs Bremner, 49, died at the scene of a head-on crash on the Kopu-Hikuai Rd, near Pauanui, on Sunday afternoon.
The occupants of the second vehicle remain in both Middlemore and Auckland Hospitals.
Council staff are understood to be "in deep shock" following the death of their colleague who was recently appointed area co-ordinator for the Mercury Bay Community Board, based in Whitianga.
Board chairwoman Alison Henry described Mrs Bremner as "a neat, little, busy, efficient and dynamic lady".
"She was such a joy to work with," she said. "It is unbelievable to think she was here one minute and gone the next, we will miss her dreadfully."
Lesley McCormick, a TCDC community development officer, said Mrs Bremner had been "a breath of fresh air" in the Whitianga office since taking up her new role.
"She really pulled that office together and lifted everyone's spirits. A truly remarkable woman," she said.
Mrs Bremner had recently returned from more than two years living in Queensland where she and her husband Steve, a former TCDC roading activities manager, have family.
Mr Bremner was expected to return to New Zealand by the end of year. He is currently working as a roading engineer in the mining industry.
Prior to their move abroad Mrs Bremner had worked at TCDC as personal assistant to former chief executive Steve Ruru who was shocked when he heard of her death yesterday morning.
"It's one of those things that happens but it doesn't make it any easier."
Mr Ruru, now Kaipara District Council chief executive, said he developed a "really close" working relationship with Mrs Bremner during her four years as his personal assistant.
"Being the chief executive's PA you end up copping some pretty hard issues at times and she always dealt with them proactively and professionally and did a very good job."
"Bev" had a "bubbly" personality and was always hard working, Mr Ruru said.
"She was always actively involved in the social club and someone that was well liked in the organisation. She always got on with everybody and contributed to making it a great place to work."
Mrs Bremner had been heading east from Thames in her Nissan Terrano on Sunday afternoon when she collided with a Toyota about 3pm, five kilometres from the turnoff to Whangamata. She was the only person in the vehicle.
In the second vehicle three people were injured. A 17-year-old was flown to Auckland Hospital with a serious leg fracture. A second young woman with serious chest, abdomen and pelvic injuries, and an older woman with moderate chest and hip injuries were flown to Middlemore Hospital. Thames senior sergeant Graham Shields said the driving conditions on the Kopu-Hikuai Rd were "horrendous" following persistent rain overnight on Saturday and Sunday morning.
"Very wet, a lot of rain, a lot of surface flooding and greasy roads," he said.
Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman confirmed Mrs Bremner had been wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash.
"But it was very wet at the time and in poor road conditions motorists have to be very careful on hilltop country and take all safety measures possible," he said.
While the crash investigation is expected to take several weeks, police were confident that Mrs Bremner had crossed the road, into the path of the Toyota.
"It's a high-speed, head-on crash," Mr Shields said. "People have just got to drive to the conditions."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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