A move to Ashburton from Hawke's Bay was supposed to improve Chante Harmer and her family's lives.
Instead, the move "orchestrated events that have left her whanau broken and changed their lives forever", her cousin, Ashleigh Harmer, wrote.
The 30-year-old, along with her two youngest children, 19-month-old Te Awanuiarangi Shayelous-Jay Matenga Tapiata-Harmer and eight-month-old Wysdom Amara Francis Tony Jane Tapiata-Harmer, died in a "horror" crash on Monday.
Emergency services were called to the crash at the intersection of Mitcham Rd and Hepburns Rd, north of Ashburton, just after 10am.
The family was travelling in a green Holden Astra, heading north along Hepburns Rd, which is controlled by give way signs.
Their vehicle was torn in half in the collision. A fourth person, a teenager, also suffered critical injuries in the crash.
The second vehicle, a white Ford Ranger, was heading west along Mitcham Rd. The Ranger driver suffered minor injuries.
Nine people died in three separate crashed in the space of nine hours on Monday.
Ashleigh set up a Givealittle page hours after the tragic incident in the hope it would help cover funeral and other associated costs.
She described Chante as being "kind, caring and generous with the little that she had".
"She is and will always be known as a person who had the biggest heart. She was a strong person who had experienced and overcome a lot of adversity but above all Chante cherished and loved her children."
Chante is survived by her partner and four children.
She will be brought back to Hawke's Bay and laid to rest with her son who passed away due to sudden infant death syndrome in 2006.
For more information, visit: the Givealitte page.