A woman critically injured after a drink-driver slammed into her vehicle at up to 150km/h says the most devastating thing is that he left her and her children to die.
Stacey Faaaliga was heading home to Auckland with her three boys after a family reunion at Kohewhata Marae, near Kaikohe, during Labour Weekend last year when their lives changed forever.
Heading in the other direction was Rima Tamehana, 31, from Moerewa. He had also been at a family event but had been drinking before he got into his uncle's BMW to pick up a pig.
His uncle and cousin were with him in the high-powered car when he passed the freezing works in Moerewa at 200km/h, according to a witness statement.
He continued at high speed through Moerewa before losing control on the last corner before the bottom of Turntable Hill.
When the car skidded into the opposing lane it was travelling at 120-150km/h in a 50km/h zone, according to the crash report.
Faaaliga had no chance of avoiding the collision. Her car was shunted 27m backwards into a paddock. Tamehana's car burst into flames.
Tamehana's injuries were minor. With bystanders' help he got his passengers out before the car was consumed in a fireball. He then fled on foot.
Meanwhile, Faaaliga and her youngest son, Liam, 4, were critically injured nearby.
Moerewa residents rallied to help them until emergency services arrived. Faaaliga had to be cut out of the wreckage by firefighters.
During Tamehana's sentencing in the Kaikohe District Court on Monday Faaaliga said it was easier to say which bones hadn't been broken than to say which ones were. Only her left arm and her face had been spared.
The surgeon who met her as the helicopter landed at Auckland City Hospital said it was a miracle she was alive at all.
For four months she needed full-time care and still needs ongoing surgery. She arrived in court on crutches after another operation just days earlier.
Liam, too, was in a bad way, she told the court in a harrowing victim impact statement.
His skull was fractured from ear to ear and he had a broken arm and shoulder. He had to relearn even the most basic skills and had lost hearing in one ear. Corrective surgery would have to wait three years until the rest of his body had healed sufficiently.
The other boys were also hurt, with one later needing emergency surgery.
Faaaliga told the court the hardest thing to accept was that Tamehana had left the scene without trying to help.
"It is the most devastating fact of all. How can you cause such chaotic destruction and just leave? We were left there, barely alive. You left us to die. It makes me sick to the core that a human being could display such carelessness and inflict so much pain."
The crash had also hurt the family financially. She and her husband Liga had worked full-time and had saved up enough for a deposit on their own home. Now their savings were gone and those plans were no longer viable.
The sentencing was attended by the Faaaliga and Edmonds families from Auckland and Kaikohe.
Tamehana addressed them, saying he was terribly sorry and was prepared to do what he could to help, though with five children of his own he had little money for reparation.
He denied knowingly fleeing while the family were injured, saying he didn't know what he'd hit.
Tamehana's lawyer, Naivasha Moore, said she had never had a more remorseful client.
He had handed himself in to police the following day and admitted be had been drinking though it was too late to carry out a breath test. He had four previous convictions for drink-driving and one for dangerous driving but the last was 10 years ago. He had a job and had largely stayed out of trouble since then.
Tamehana was charged with six counts of reckless driving causing injury and one of failing to ascertain injury after a crash.
Judge Greg Davis took into account Tamehana's earlier convictions, the fact alcohol was involved, his remorse and guilty pleas to arrive at a sentence of two years' jail.
That could have made him eligible for home detention but Judge Davis said his driving was so poor and the consequences for the Faaaliga family so severe that prison was the only option.
He did not accept Tamehana's claim he didn't know another car had been involved.
After sentencing Faaaliga said her family could now focus on recovery and picking up the pieces of their lives.
She was grateful to be alive and forever indebted to the people of Moerewa, the emergency services and health professionals who had helped them.