Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Mother of Chinese woman killed in a car crash: 'What happened has really destroyed my family'

Grieving parent of a Chinese woman killed in a car crash last year says the death has broken her family and NZ’s police have been too soft on the driver responsible.

"It seems like I have lost all meaning to my life, my life has become meaningless. What happened has really destroyed my family."

Meng Gen wipes tears from her eyes as she describes how she feels without her only daughter, who was also her friend and pride of the family.

Struggling to come to terms with the death of Huan Na, 23, who died in a car crash in Karaka, South Auckland, last April, she says she is "still in a deep sorrow".

Ms Na and Zhuangya Xu, 23, were both killed in the early morning crash, while their friend and workmate Zhentai Qi was critically hurt.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

All were Chinese nationals in New Zealand on working visas.

Te-Tauvira Tearii, 27, charged in relation to her death, is due to be sentenced tomorrow.

The Herald visited Ms Meng Gen at her Auckland hotel, where she spoke about her daughter and the case against Tearii.

Ms Na, an architecture student, was a keen photographer and came to New Zealand to find inspiration to fuel her design.

"She was born to be an artist, and she liked photography as well, she had her own dreams, and her dream was to become a good designer," Ms Meng Gen said through a Mandarin translator.

"She hoped to do something for this world. And she was thinking that art could really make some changes. She was majoring in product design, industry. And she was trying to make change through designing, [providing] assistance and convenience."

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Her biggest regret was that her daughter died before she was able to reach her full potential, she said.

"Now it's the end of my own dream, and the happiness of the whole family."

Ms Na loved travelling and had spent time in Europe, visiting Germany, Austria, France and Denmark, where she had also studied. "She is the pride of her family," her mother said, describing her as a "very lovely and kind girl", liked by everyone.

However, at around 6.30am on April 11 last year - four months into her trip - Tearii crossed the centre line on State Highway 22 Karaka Rd, east of Bycroft Rd, and drove head-on into Ms Na's yellow Toyota.

Ms Na died at the scene, having to be extricated from the car, while her friend Ms Xu later died in hospital. Mr Qi spent time in hospital due to his injuries, a police summary of facts said.

"The police have always been saying my daughter has no responsibility at all [for the crash]. They always said my daughter made no mistakes at all, including driving, including the safety belt, and including always remaining in the same lane," Ms Meng Gen said.

She later added that Ms Na had studied the New Zealand road code to familiarise herself with the rules and driving on the left.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

"Every time when I was worrying about my daughter, my daughter was always saying she'll be all right, because everyone here, in driving, they all respect the rules."

But Ms Meng Gen then received a heartbreaking phone call.

"At the first moment I couldn't believe the news and was thinking if that was really true, then I would have rather died myself," she said, adding that she cursed God when she heard.

"Even now I still can't understand it. But I know what happened has happened.

"It is so miserable to have such an experience in life. Now I'm hoping that no other person will experience the same."

Ms Meng Gen has travelled from the family's home in the Inner Mongolia region in the hope of seeing justice for her daughter.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

However, she said she was feeling "disappointed" by the experience, and believes the police have been too lenient in their treatment of Tearii, who was charged with two counts of careless driving causing death and one count of careless driving causing injury.

She is particularly confused by the charge of careless driving, which she believes should have been one of dangerous driving, and says the police have never explained the definition of careless driving to her.

"We have suffered a huge loss - two people are dead, and one got injured, so we have suffered so much loss. If the police could work seriously in this case they should have given us a clear conclusion.

"I'm thinking the judicial system in New Zealand should be responsible for this tragedy, but I have my own responsibility, I shouldn't have let my daughter come to New Zealand," she said.

"My daughter loved New Zealand so much, just like so many other young Chinese."

Ms Meng Gen is due to fly out of Auckland tonight, and is hoping to return to China with a result that will help ease her "spiritual life".

"This tragedy should never have happened."

- NZ Herald

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