Rotorua crash victim 'always wore a smile'

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine of The Daily Post -
The scene of the crash. Photo / Patrick Klijn
The scene of the crash. Photo / Patrick Klijn

Saphron Greenfield was on her way to say goodbye to her partner's relatives when the car she was in was hit by a truck.

Miss Greenfield, 26, who grew up in Rotorua, died on Monday when a logging truck rolled and crushed the car she and her partner were travelling in south of Whangarei. They were on their way to farewell her partner's family before the couple moved to Australia.

Miss Greenfield's nana Annette Greenfield said her granddaughter and Nicholas Brown, who survived the crash, were preparing to leave New Zealand and move to Perth.

"The sad part was they were just on their way to say goodbye to Nick's grandfather when it happened," Mrs Greenfield said.

"Her sister is over there and they decided it was time to take a break from New Zealand."

Mrs Greenfield said her granddaughter was a wonderful girl and the family was struggling to come to grips with the loss.

"She was a wonderful granddaughter. She didn't have a bad bone in her, she nearly always had a smile on her face and would regularly pop in and say hello to her nana and granddad," Mrs Greenfield said.

"She has achieved great things. She was an optometrist and hasn't long come out of her training at Auckland University - we were very, very proud."

Miss Greenfield's parents, both from Rotorua, brought their daughter home on Wednesday afternoon from Whangarei.

Members of the Sulphur City Motorcycle Club, where Miss Greenfield's father was a member, had travelled to Auckland to escort her home.

Northland police said the crash happened when a logging truck rolled while trying to avoid another vehicle.

The truck driver managed to free himself from the cab and ran to a nearby house to raise the alarm.

The driver of the crushed car, believed to be Mr Brown, was trapped but cut free by firefighters before being taken to hospital as a precaution.

However, Miss Greenfield died at the scene.

She was born in Rotorua and spent a large part of her early life growing up in Hamurana.

She finished schooling at Rotorua Girls' High School in 2004 before studying at Auckland University from 2007 to 2010, when she trained as an optometrist graduating with honours.

Auckland University Department of Optometry and Vision Science clinical director Geraint Phillips said Miss Greenfield was a well-liked student among her peers and tutors.

"She was certainly well liked and had a very pleasant nature," he said.

Miss Greenfield had more recently been flatting with her partner in Hamilton, where she worked at OPSM for about 18 months.

Her funeral will be held at the Otuwhare Marae, Omaio, at 11am tomorrow.

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