A Napier kindergarten is reeling at the loss of teacher Pam McGarva, who died after a car crash left her in a coma for 10 days.

Napier Kindergarten Association general manager Helen McNaughten said the death of Ms McGarva, 55, on Sunday had left "a massive hole in our organisation".

"Pam was one of those genuinely warm, vibrant people, who easily touched the hearts of other people.

"She was full of fun; bubbly and bright, a very talented teacher. She had a real zest for life and a curiosity."


Ms McNaughten said Ms McGarva had an incredibly easy way of connecting with people and making them feel special.

Ms McGarva's colleagues referred to her as their "style queen" because of her taste for fashion and glamour.

She was a part of the Napier Kindergarten Association for 12 years and taught at Carlyle Kindergarten for eight years.

Carlyle Kindergarten head teacher Danny Mills, who taught alongside Ms McGarva, said she was "a lovely person; she was just a very warm person who made everyone feel special - parents, colleagues and children.

"She was also a very sensitive person who could tune into children really well."

Ms McGarva had a sense for children who were anxious when separated from their parents, and a knack for comforting them.

It had been difficult to break the news of Ms McGarva's death to the children at Carlyle Kindergarten.

"I talked to the children today about what happened.


"Four-year-olds process it differently than adults do. Today we kept as much to routine as possible."

Ms Mills said Carlyle Kindergarten parents had organised a candlelit vigil for Ms McGarva at the kindergarten a few days after the crash, while she was in a coma.

"It was a very moving experience."

When Ms McGarva died, her room at Hawke's Bay Hospital was filled with loving cards and messages from children at the kindergarten.

She was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital in a critical condition on July 9, after her car collided with another during a rainy evening on Prebensen Drive in Napier.

She remained in a critical condition in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit for 10 days.

Ms McGarva was believed to be on her way to a quiz night.

The crash happened near the Prebensen Drive/Hawke's Bay Expressway intersection.

Both drivers were trapped and the Fire Service cut them from their vehicles.

The driver of the other car, a woman in her 20s, was later discharged from hospital.