Regan Schoultz is an NZME news service reporter based in Auckland.

Grieving family prepare for the return of Ocean Heke's body

Ocean Heke, left, was found dead early on Sunday, with police investigators continuing to gather evidence. Photos / Supplied / Alan Gibson
Ocean Heke, left, was found dead early on Sunday, with police investigators continuing to gather evidence. Photos / Supplied / Alan Gibson

Yesterday was a tough day for Ocean Heke's family and friends.

They came together to prepare a farewell for the beautiful girl they fondly knew as Lovey, the 17-year-old girl who was killed in Otorohanga as she walked home from her best mate's 18th birthday party.

Police believe Ocean died as a result of injuries she sustained when she was hit by vehicle.

She was found dead on Main North road in the early hours of Sunday morning by passers-by.


This afternoon they announced they had located a car linked to Ocean's death and said two young people were helping them with their inquiries.

One News reported alcohol had been involved and that a couple had been arguing at a party before getting into a vehicle and driving off.

However police would not be drawn on the specifics of the case.

For Ocean's family, news the car had been located provided some relief but would not bring their girl back.

"We have a lot of words we could say to them. No words can describe what we are going through," said her cousin Tamie Tapara.

A post mortem examination was held earlier today, and her family were getting ready to welcome her body home to Te Kuiti.

Uncles, aunties, sisters, cousins and parents arrived throughout the day working together to transform the family home into a place that would serve for a tangi.

As a team, the family created a haven in the living room where the teen would be laid down on a bed beneath a shelf full of photos of her enjoying life, a crown of leaves delicately placed on the pillow.

Surrounding her bed they created seats where those closest to her would sit and say their goodbyes. Then a space where others would have their chance to farewell the young girl who was "shy but had a beautiful smile".

Outside they created a place where a feast in Ocean's honour would be held.

Everyone lent a helping hand to butter bread, make sandwiches, make fried bread, slice fish and cook meat for the hundreds who would be arriving in the coming days to pay their respects.

Marquees, chairs and tables were set up, hot coffee and tea readily available.

A menu was even posted on the wall to inform guests of the foods that would be served.

Police again cordoned off SH3 where Ocean was found to re-examine the scene.

As police worked so did Ocean's family - tirelessly as a team to give their daughter, sister and loved one a farewell fit for a queen.

Despite what has happened however, the group will stay strong and stick together, providing support and love for one another.

And now they wait for her to return home.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 28 Oct 2016 11:23:41 Processing Time: 479ms