Takotoroa Māreikura had just moved to Hamilton the week she was found with critical injuries in a suburban street.
The 24-year-old woman was rushed to Waikato Hospital after she was found in Charlemont St on September 29. She died the following night.
Police say they are still investigating her death, but older sister Liana Herewini does not believe the vivacious young woman was involved in a hit and run.
Herewini said Māreikura was preparing to go out with friends that Saturday night to celebrate her new life in Hamilton when she told her younger sister she was ducking out to the shops.
"It was meant to be a really great week for her. She'd just caught up with her sister who was the last [family member] to see her.
"She said she would be straight back and her bag and everything was left at her sister's and she never came back. She was found on the other side of town."
Police were called to the scene just after 8pm and cordoned off a section of the Whitiora street after Māreikura was taken to hospital.
Her life support was switched off overnight on October 1.
Herewini said Māreikura was intelligent, outgoing, and fun to be around.
"She had a uniquely distinct laugh. You knew it was her from a distance."
Born in Raetihi, near Ōhakune on a snowy night, Māreikuru was the middle of three daughters.
She was raised by her father Allan-Wayne Māreikura until the age of four and then went to live with Herewini's mother in a whāngai adoption.
The family moved to Whangārei when Māreikura was five and she undertook schooling there, attending Kamo High School.
"She was an extremely bright child, right from the beginning. She was really intellingent - ask you a million questions," Herewini said.
"She could read in advance. She maintained that throughout her life - she was our little 'know-it-all' but she did know it all because we always answered her questions so we made her smart."
Māreikura was the youngest of her whāngai family siblings, with six sisters and five brothers.
"We all in turn had a part in raising her. She was humerous and she was smart. She loved to dress up and she was kind. She always had a real kind, generous nature.
"But she was also very loud. She could command the attention of a room with her presence. She was really, really loved by all of us.
"She grew up as our niece but grew into her little sister role."
She said Māreikura was hugely popular and had friends from all walks of life.
After secondary school Māreikura studied Te Reo Māori and tourism and hospitality at Northland Polytechnic.
She worked in restaurants and bars in the Bay of Plenty and as a hair and hand model before taking a "gap year" and moving to Hamilton the week of her death.
"She was just figuring things out for herself."
Herewini said Māreikura was considering further study in Hamilton.
"She'd just gone down there to see if it was for her."
Māreikura, of Ngati Rangi and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, was buried at Otuwhare Marae in Opotiki where her biological mother Kerena Butler comes from.
Herewini said both families were trying to come to grips with their loss.
"That's all we're doing, is just coping. We sort of want some answers to give closure so the people responsible are held responsible for their actions, no matter what might have taken place."
A police spokesman said there had been no arrests in the case and police were still investigating.
At the time of the incident they were trying to determine how Māreikura became injured and wanted to hear from witnesses in the Charlemont Street area between 7-8pm that night.
As part of the inquiry police had appealed for anyone who saw a silver station wagon in and around the Charlemont and Ulster streets area on Saturday, September 29 during the same time frame.
Police said this week they were no longer looking for the car.