Desert Road crash victim remembered as a 'beautiful soul'

By Belinda Feek, Vaimoana Tapaleao

A woman among three people killed in a horror car crash on the Desert Road is being remembered as a beautiful young woman who was loved by all.

Monalisa Alofaifo, 20, was today named by police as one of those killed in the early-morning accident yesterday.

Alofaifo - known as Lisa - was one of four people who were travelling in the vehicle at the time. She was sitting in the back seat when the car hit a truck just after 7am.

Do you know the victims? Pay tribute here

It is understood the car lost control as it approached a 65km/h bend on State Highway 1 at Rangipo in the Central Plateau and spun before ploughing into a southbound truck.

In a poignant final post on Facebook the day before she died, Alofaifo posted a photo on her profile, with the comment: "Nothing can stop me.

I'm all the way [up]. Watch this space. Haters [gonna] hate. Only time will tell."

Family and friends of Alofaifo have started paying tribute to a beautiful young woman.

Her brother, Junior, wrote on Facebook yesterday: "For all of u guys that don't know, my sister Lisa Alofaifo passed away today in a car accident today , i am [truly] shattered and lost with words. I love and miss u my sister."

Another friend, Mataolealofa Lavea, said she was struggling with the tragic news.

"I literally stood up and tried to hold back tears. I thought of our friendship and how short the time I spent with your beautiful soul [was], only to actually feel how infectious it was evermore today.

"I'll always remember how good your soul was and your humorous ways. Love you, Monalisa."

Friend Tile Tagoai also paid his respects, saying: "Don't take anyone for granted and cherish the time you have with your family and friends. Fly high Lisa Alofaifo. I'll be blasting the songs that we shared with each other. May God welcome you with open arms and comfort your family in the times ahead."

Facebook continues to be flooded with tributes for Alofaifo as news spreads of her death.

Alofaifo's sister, Cathy, wrote this about her sister during the early hours of this morning.

"My beautiful angel up above you definitely went 'all the waaaaay up' the pain, regrets & burden I'll forever hold inside me kills me every time I hear & see your beautiful name you were selfless my baby & have such an amazing soul! Yesterday we drove to the ends to finally to see your gorgeous face & man if I could rewind time I would give my life just to feel you again you are my true best friend Monalisa I love you xo," she wrote.

Victoria University's Pasifika Students' Council also expressed their condolonces.

"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, [sic] every part rejoices with it", it wrote on Facebook. "Pasifika Students' Council would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lisa Alofaifo who was a part of the Pasifika family and Samoan Students' Association at Victoria University. We pray for comfort and peace during this time."

Police also named Twinkle Ansal, 21, as another victim. Ansal was in the country on a student visa. He was seated in the front passenger's seat.

One other victim remains to be named.

The 21-year-old driver, also here on a student visa, remains in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital. The driver of the truck was unhurt, but shaken.

The group was travelling from Wellington to Auckland at the time of the crash.

Alofaifo was a Samoan national with New Zealand residency, police said. She is a former student of Wellington East Girls' College and is understood to have been studying at Victoria University.

"Police extend their sympathies to the friends and family of the victims at this sad and difficult time."

Yesterday's accident followed an earlier warning from the MetService, of a large amount of snow falling in the area.

- NZ Herald

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