Friends of an innocent woman killed during a police pursuit are raising money to help her children pay for her funeral.

Funds will also go towards helping ease some financial burden from her five children,
who friends say are "absolutely devastated," as a result of their mother's death.

Carmen Yanko died in the early hours of Sunday, March 11, in a head-on crash just south of Nelson.

The 53-year-old was on her way to a local market to set up her stall when her car was hit by a second vehicle, which was involved in a police chase at the time.


The two men in that car, Johnathan Tairakena, 25, and Phillip Stretch, 33, also died in the crash.

Now friends of the Yanko family have started a fundraising effort in a bid to help the much-loved mother's children pay for her funeral costs as well as other bills that have arisen since the tragedy.

A Givealittle page has been set up, reaching out to anyone who may wish to donate.

"Her death has left her young family reeling and has also put a lot of pressure on them financially, with costs related to the farewell and their futures,'' a family friend wrote.

"We, friends and family, respectfully call on the New Zealand community to help ease this financial pressure during this heartbreaking time by giving what you can.''

Yanko's youngest children - aged 17, 19 and 21 - are in high school and university.

A family notice in a Nelson newspaper paid tribute to a woman described as a "brave girl".

"In the darkness, you were gone. Unbearably. This can't be real."


A funeral service was held for Yanko last Friday.