The body of a Tauranga teenager killed in a crash near Te Puke at the weekend has been welcomed home.
Grieving friends and family wept as Halayna Chrystie Lee Pare Wagstaff's coffin was brought onto Tamapahore Maraeyesterday .
The loving and caring 17-year-old was heading home from a party about 10pm on Saturday with her partner, Jason Anaru-Emery, who was driving when they crashed on Waiari Bridge.
Halayna died in the crash and Anaru-Emery was taken to Tauranga Hospital and later discharged.
At the marae yesterday, Halayna's father, Darren Wagstaff, spoke of the importance of bringing his "beautiful girl" home to the marae.
"Her aunty is buried up here as well. A lot of the kids here," Wagstaff said, gesturing to children playing near the entrance, "they were her cousins and would come to my house all the time."
Wagstaff thanked those gathered inside the whare for letting him "bring my daughter home".
"She's here, obviously, with us, and it's [fitting] that the day that she does lie here, the sun lights up the day just like her smile lights up a room.
"I can see so much of what she meant to people with looking around you, family and whanau."
Wagstaff said his daughter, who had links to the marae through her mother, would want him to be strong and so far he was managing to hold it together.
"But I don't know about Thursday. Even mountains fall down."
Halayna will lie in state at the marae before being cremated on Thursday and finally farewelled.
Halayna's uncle, Ken Wagstaff, also stood and spoke to the crowd.
"It brings joy to my heart to see she was loved so much," he said.
"Our family will miss her smile, her humour. There are so many fond memories."
The former Mount Maunganui College student leaves behind her sister and best friend Zeta, older brother Conan, sister Claudia, brother Terrence, brother Preston, brother Isaac and mother Jenai.