The family of a Northland mother and daughter killed in a road crash are glad a teenager responsible for the double fatality has taken responsibility for his actions.
Name suppression for Aizaeah Kori-Lee Tarawa lapsed yesterday in the Whangārei District Court where he entered guilty pleas to two charges of drink-driving causing death and two of careless driving causing death.
Another charge, failing to stop to ascertain injury, is yet to be dealt with.
It was the first time the 19-year-old Aucklander appeared in court in person.
He was driving a silver sedan that collided head-on with a north-bound people mover on State Highway 1 near Oruawharo Rd in Topuni, on March 30.
Killed in the people mover were Kaiwaka mother Janiah Fairburn, 20, and her 2-year-old daughter Azarliyah while Fairburn's partner Henare Hadfield suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Their 1-year-old son, Te Tairawhiti Hadfield, suffered a fractured neck and is being treated for spinal injuries at Starship children's hospital and wearing a halo brace.
Janiah Fairburn's uncle Tawhiri Littlejohn said irrespective of how Tarawa pleaded, nothing would bring back his niece and her daughter. However, he said it was pleasing to learn people who did wrong took responsibility for their actions.
"What happened was a terrible tragedy and the best thing for him to do is to own up, take responsibility, not try to cover it up. In saying that, nothing can bring closure to what has happened," Littlejohn said.
Tarawa has to deal with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life, he said.
"As a family, we haven't been focusing on him because we've been grieving so there hasn't been too much talk about feelings of resentment. This family has strong faith in the Lord," said the pastor at Kaiwaka Revival Church.
Littlejohn said Hadfield has been discharged from hospital and was recovering well while his son would spend at least another week in hospital before his neck brace was removed.
Stuff reported Tarawa yelled "I am really sorry bro" during an emotionally-charged court appearance yesterday.
Tarawa was still having medical treatment as a result of the crash, including the need for
an operation to remove a stent from his liver.
When Judge Davis directed that Tarawa be remanded in custody, a member of the public jumped up, saying "I love you my son".
As Tarawa was led away, he yelled out: "I'm really sorry bro".
The member of the public replied: "We forgive you bro".
Tarawa will be sentenced on July 2.