A Featherston youth worker is pleading for community help with difficult teens after two boys were killed in a car crash as the young driver fled police in the main street of Masterton early yesterday morning.
Two Featherston teenagers, named by the New Zealand Herald as Hoani Korewha and Pacer Willacy-Scott, died in Masterton after a brief pursuit through the town centre.
Police said a teen at the wheel of a stolen Honda Civic vehicle had failed to stop for officers, who had given chase in a patrol car before immediately abandoning the pursuit due to the dangerous driving of the fleeing driver through the town centre about 2.15am yesterday.
Police saw the still-speeding vehicle crash into a Queen St light pole about a kilometre from where the patrol officers had abandoned the pursuit.
Firefighters removed the roof of the car and extricated one of the boys, who was trapped inside the vehicle, and all four teens were taken to Wairarapa Hospital.
Two of the boys received serious injuries in the crash and had since died. The injured survivors were late yesterday listed in a stable condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Alan Maxwell, co-ordinator of Wairarapa Anglican Youth (WAY), said three of the four teens in the car had attended the group he had founded in Featherston nine months ago.
The boys, who were all aged 14 or 15 and were from the South Wairarapa town, had mostly contributed to the progress of the group and helped with working bees, he said.
One of the teens had been attending Kuranui College, another was receiving alternative education, and the other was about to start work.
"They were always really respectful and extremely polite around me. They were coming along and doing working bees with us and helping out," he said.
Mr Maxwell yesterday said he had been receiving messages throughout the day from other group leaders and community agencies "asking me what can they do to help" and he hoped there would be a combined community response in the wake of the fatal crash.
"I'm devastated but more angry than anything else because the writing's on the wall when these kids have such limited choices and the community is so apathetic to it all," he said.
"The bottom line is they're just bored and if we don't give them things to do, they find stupid things to do and make stupid choices. At some point, as a community, we have to take responsibility otherwise these kids are not going to be the only ones this year."
Mr Maxwell said one of the teenagers who died had shown potential as a leader and had flourished since joining the Featherston group.
"I had him marked as a great leader of the future. He was turning himself around and really wanted to do something worthwhile. He'd been fundraising over the holidays to go to Easter camp and was looking at doing some leadership courses," he said.
"It's just such a waste, each of them. All of them."
The deaths of the Featherston teens comes a week after 15-year-old Eden Nathan died in similar circumstances in Auckland.
The Independent Police Complaints Authority is investigating the Masterton crash along with the Serious Crash Unit.
Mr Maxwell last night led a vigil at St Johns church in Featherston "for those who need comfort or wish to light a candle for our youth".