Northland road safety campaigners want more graphic campaigns to illustrate the true trauma of vehicle crashes and the effects on people as the region's road toll soars.

The Luaki family from Hikurangi agrees . . . and they should know.

They are dealing with the aftermath of a vehicle crash that badly injured 8-year-old Haminy.

Joanna Luaki kisses her daughter Haminy while older sister Josharney and dad Jared look on in Whangarei Hospital.
Joanna Luaki kisses her daughter Haminy while older sister Josharney and dad Jared look on in Whangarei Hospital.

She has undergone surgery for serious stomach injuries and will remain in Auckland's Starship children's hospital for at least a month, with many more months spent recovering.


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Northland road toll now six

Jared Luaki, a dairy farm manager, has spoken out about the impact of last Friday's crash on Jordan Valley Rd, near Hikurangi, when his wife Joanna and five of their eight children were in a van that collided with another vehicle.

He has allowed a photo of his very sick daughter in Whangarei Hospital to be printed to show the reality of a crash.

"I had to witness my loved ones in pain and there was nothing I could do but reassure them. There was nothing I could do to reverse what had happened," Mr Luaki said.

"No one is promised tomorrow. My whole family could have been taken away from me on that day. I'm so grateful that didn't happen."

All five children in the van and his wife were taken to Whangarei Hospital. Haminy was injured the worst and was rushed into surgery to mend her intestines and bleeding in the bowel.

The next morning she was flown to Auckland's Starship children's hospital.

"All of them were wearing seatbelts and that definitely saved them no doubt about it, that's why there are seatbelts in vehicles."

He appealed to motorists to slow down and be considerate.

"Think about how you are driving and what you are doing. Put yourself in this position with all your children lying on the side of the road crying and in pain and shock."

Normally bubbly and talkative, Haminy had only started to briefly communicate with her parents in the last few days.

"It's heartbreaking to see her like this," he said.

The Hikurangi community rallied and have set up a donation box in a local business for the family.

Mr Luaki said neighbours and other in the community had dropped off food which had made his job of looking after all the other children easier.

A community member had also helped with the pick-up and drop-off of children to school as the family's only form of transport had been the van damaged in the crash.

However, the other man involved in the crash had helped organise a rental car for the family until the insurance could be sorted out.

Mr Luaki said members of the Destiny Church had also been a great help to the family.

A Northland Road Safety report presented to the Regional Transport Committee meeting this week sparked talk around a change in the way road safety messages were being delivered and interpreted by motorists.

Chairman John Bain said Northland made up 3.4 per cent of the New Zealand population but last year with 40 fatalities accounted for 11 per cent of the road deaths in the country.

"It's unbelievable we can punch above our weight in these drastic statistics."

He described it as another crippling and horrifying year on the region's roads. And already this year the road toll has reached six fatalities.

Mr Bain said it was the "same old, same old" factors contributing to the deaths, including not driving to the conditions, failing to wear a seatbelt, drink driving and speed.

He suggested "shock tactics" were needed to show people the carnage and reality of road crashes.

"Perhaps the time has come for some pretty graphic photos to make people think twice and slow down and take notice of the safety messages," Mr Bain said.

"I think we need to show the results of what happens in these crashes. Show exactly what happens to the people not just two crumpled vehicles."

Committee member representing the Northland Regional Council Cr Paul Dimery - a former Whangarei and Kaipara Police Area Commander - said it was time "to get off our arses and do something".

"We know everyone is putting in effort but that effort is not getting the results we need to change that. We are still killing a lot more people on our roads than need to die. We can't sit here saying we are doing the best we can when there are still people dying.

"We can't keep doing the same thing and expecting to get a different result. We have to change," he said.

In 1989 there were 55 deaths on Northland roads, while the lowest on record was seven fatalities in 2011.

Last year police recorded 40 deaths on Northland's roads up from 27 the previous year and 23 in 2015 and 18 in 2014.