A mother of three was one of the people who died near Rotorua at the weekend after a car plunged into Lake Rotomā.

Emergency services were first called to the scene at Ōtangiwai Point on State Highway 30, east of Rotorua, at 12.40pm on Saturday.

There they found that a silver Mercedes Benz had plunged into Lake Rotomā.

Bibi Ali of Ranui and David Alexander Fawcett Jarden of Totara Heights were last night named as the two killed in the crash.


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Police divers yesterday retrieved their bodies from the lake and the car was winched ashore, after being submerged in water for almost 24 hours.

Ranui resident Ali is survived by her three children and close family, according to online tributes.

Originally from Nadi, the 53-year-old moved to New Zealand around 25 years ago.

The New Zealand Muslim Association declined to comment when contacted by the Herald, but said it would offer support to any of its community members were they to be affected by such a tragedy.

Police divers at the scene of the crash. Photo / Andrew Warner
Police divers at the scene of the crash. Photo / Andrew Warner

Two Māori wardens spent a freezing night at Lake Rotomā, where they stood for 15 hours to honour the pair.

Kawerau Māori wardens chairwoman Alex Walker and Tāneatua Māori warden and First Security guard Rawinia Teepa told the Rotorua Daily Post they'd volunteered to be a "comforting presence in sad moments" at the scene, despite the fact temperatures plummeted that night.

"Though they were submerged underwater, we as Māori make sure that they [the deceased] are accompanied ... And that's where we Māori wardens come in, working beside the police, because the police have other places and other work duties to go to.


"We were there as overnight security, just making sure everything was okay."

A Lake Rotomā local said the corner was notorious for crashes.

Shane, who would only be known by his first name, said he lived across from the corner for about four years before moving down the road a few years ago.

In that time there were often people losing control of their cars on that corner, he said.

"I've seen a few accidents but nothing where they've gone right in."

Shane said there had been a metal safety barrier recently installed.


"Since that happened, we haven't had many crashes - until now. It's pretty unreal."

He said the corner had a layby where people diving or swimming often parked their cars.

"It would've probably saved their lives, if there were cars parked there."

Lake Rotoma is the fourth-largest of the 11 lakes in the Rotorua Lakes district.