Housing NZ cops flak after car crash kills boy

By Amy Maas, Jane Nixon

Kingi Te Ao Reneti had been on on his way to play at Mountfort Park with his sister.
Kingi Te Ao Reneti had been on on his way to play at Mountfort Park with his sister.

The family of a young boy killed on his way to a park after being struck by a car are upset Housing New Zealand dug up their front lawn, leaving their children without anywhere safe to play.

Kingi Te Ao Reneti, 4, was flung several metres after being hit by the car in Sykes Rd, Weymouth, about 12.40pm yesterday.

Onlookers tried to resuscitate the critically injured boy. He was taken to Middlemore Hospital by ambulance but died soon after.

Kingi, one of 13 siblings, had been on on his way to play at Mountfort Park with his 8-year-old sister Huhana, his uncle, Weko Whetu, said.

Whetu, who arrived at the scene just after the crash, said the family was concerned about kids crossing the road to reach the park, after Housing New Zealand dug up the front lawn of the house where Reneti lived with his parents, Remana Reneti and Kuini Baker.

"The kids have nowhere else to play," Whetu said.

"I'm angry. If this [pile of dirt] wasn't here or if they'd hurried up, maybe this wouldn't have happened. It was a risk and look what happened."

Whetu said Housing New Zealand was making room for another house on the section where the family lived and the front lawn had been dug up to make way for a car park.

Housing New Zealand regional manager tenancy services Denise Fink said: "We were very shocked and saddened to hear about the incident. We don't have a lot of information at this stage and are still trying to find out more about what has happened."

Whetu said he noticed the driver of the car that hit Kingi crying at the scene.

Police cordoned off Sykes Rd and were conducting a scene investigation. Two cars were marked. One was a white Toyota sedan.

A yellow cap and boot were also marked on the road outside the property. Whetu said from the markings, it looked like Reneti was flung 4m when the car hit him.

The Counties Manukau Serious Crash Unit is investigating the fatality. A police spokeswoman said the driver was co-operating with the police.

Meanwhile, an elderly man died after falling 6m down a lift shaft at his clifftop East Auckland home yesterday.

Wiebe Ettema, 87, had been trying to fix the lift but fell after prying open the doors of the lift at his home in Stevenson Way, Cockle Bay.

His wife, Tineka Ettema, 86, called emergency services about 11.35am, after finding him lying at the bottom of the shaft.

St Johns South Auckland shift supervisor Ian Rex said, "The gentleman tried to open the lift door and fell in when he opened the door. He subsequently died."

Rex said the death did not appear to have been medically related.

Police Acting Senior Sergeant Peter Kerr said Tineka Ettema was being supported by Victim Support and next of kin were being contacted.,

The family had asked for privacy.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the Ettemas were friendly but kept to themselves.

"We don't know them well. We saw them yesterday. They were having tree work done. They were very nice," she said.

The death has been referred to the coroner.

- Herald on Sunday

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