A 14-year-old boy has been charged with a raft of driving offences after a crash in Masterton that claimed the lives of two 15-year-olds early on Sunday morning.
The boy, who has automatic name suppression because of his age, appeared in Masterton District Court yesterday charged with driving while forbidden, failing to stop for police and unlawfully getting into a stolen car.
Police said the teen, who was allegedly the driver of the car which fled police before crashing into a light pole killing Hoani Korewha and Pacer Willacy-Scott, could face further charges depending on the outcome of a Serious Crash Unit investigation.
Several members of the boy's family gathered in the court's public gallery for his first court appearance. One could be heard crying shortly before the boy was brought into court.
Judge Barbara Morris remanded the boy in the custody of Child, Youth and Family to reappear on February 11.
Police have referred the only other crash survivor to Youth Aid.
Speaking outside court, Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa general manager PJ Devonshire said the iwi had worked with two of the boys involved in the crash.
He had been in court to provide support to the family of the accused but said all the families involved needed some aroha.
"The whanau need a bit of support and we are here to support them.
"The immediate process now is about supporting the family of these young fellows who passed away as well as the family of the other two -- let's just put some aroha around them," he said.
It was a tragic time for the whole Wairarapa, not just Featherston, he said.
"The key message for me is just supporting the whanau and getting through the process and getting through the tangi."
In a statement issued by police yesterday, Wairarapa's acting area commander Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said the loss of young lives was always a tragedy.
"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all those involved.
"It is important, at this time, that people allow the police investigation process to run its course," Mr Sutton said.
"We are dealing with extremely vulnerable and emotional young people who are struggling to come to terms with what has happened.
"We are further supporting the community by deploying additional staff to Featherston, where the young people were from. This is a sad reminder to us all about the fragility of human life and how a decision made in a split moment can have tragic consequences.
"I hope that as a community we can pull together and learn from this to prevent the needless loss of young lives on our roads," he said.