Last week was the darkest on New Zealand roads in 16 years, with 26 people killed.

Between March 29 and April 5 this year the road toll skyrocketed upwards as families across the country lost parents, siblings and children.

Grief touched every corner of the country as fatal crashes occurred as far north as Topuni and as far south as Ashburton.

The last time more than 26 people died in a week was April 2003.


As of April 9, 112 people had already been killed on the roads this year - three short of the 115 killed in the same period last year. In 2018, 377 people were killed in crashes across the whole year.

These are the stories of the 26 people who died in a horror week on the roads.

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A man aged in his 80s was killed after being struck by a car in Miramar, Wellington. The crash occurred on Broadway, near Crawford Green, about 8.10am on Friday, March 29.

Dwayne Maker

Dwayne Maker, 37, died when two trucks collided on SH1, in Kinleith, South Waikato, about 8.35am on March 29. The Taupō dad was said to have died "doing what he loved best". He leaves behind a partner and three young sons. To read more, click here.

Colin Stephenson

Colin Stephenson, 59, died on March 29 when his motorcycle collided with a car at Wairakei Terraces in the Taupō district about 2.15pm. The father of four was from Katikati. To read more, click here.


Tadhg McColl

McColl and William Wallace, two 18-year-old mates from South Taranaki, were both killed in a single-car crash on Saturday, March 30, at an intersection in Hawera. A death notice showed McColl leaves behind five siblings. He was an Alton Wrestling Club member and was described as a talented rugby player.

William Wallace

Wallace died alongside his mate Tadhg McColl after the single-car crash in Hawera. In his death notice, 18-year-old Wallace was described as a dearly loved son and stepson, treasured brother to five siblings and cherished grandson. "Fly High Our Beautiful Boy," the notice read.

Janiah Fairburn

Janiah Fairburn, 20, and her daughter Azarliyah Hadfield, 2, died after a crash on SH1 in Topuni on March 30. Fairburn's fiancee and 14-month-old son were also seriously injured in the crash. Fairburn was described by family as having a "calming, loving personality" and was the second oldest of 11 siblings. Her sisters said she had a beautiful singing voice. To read more, click here.

Azarliyah Hadfield

Azarliyah died alongside her mother, Janiah Fairburn, in the Topuni crash. The 2-year-old tot was survived by her brother and her father, the latter bears her name tattooed on his forearm. To read more, click here.


Douglas Cater

Motorcyclist Douglas Charles Cater, 64, died on Sunday, March 31, after he crashed at the intersection of Teapot Valley and Waimea West Rds in Brightwater, Nelson. His death was referred to the coroner.


Colin Redfearn

Colin Redfearn, 50, died after his car left the road at an intersection near Auckland Airport shortly after 1.15am on Monday, April 1. Redfearn was taken to Middlemore Hospital in a critical condition but later died.

Peter Senior Rangikataua

Rangikataua, 44, died on April 1 in a crash that also claimed the lives of his nephew and three daughters. He was described as a "wonderful father" who loved his children. His son Isaac was the sole survivor of the crash.

Rangi Rangikataua

Rangi Rangikataua died in a motor vehicle accident on April 1 near Taupo with four other members of his family.
Rangi Rangikataua died in a motor vehicle accident on April 1 near Taupo with four other members of his family.

Rangikataua, 26, died in the crash that killed five members of the same whānau on Tirohanga Rd north of Taupō.

Michelle Morgan-Rangikataua

Michelle, 15, was one of three sisters killed in the Tirohanga Rd crash. The trio were said to be very close.

Aroha Morgan-Rangikataua

Aroha, 14, was killed alongside her two sisters in the Tirohanga Rd crash.

Kahukura Morgan-Rangikataua

Kahukura, 12, died alongside her two sisters in the Tirohanga Rd crash.

Chante Harmer, Te Awanuiarangi and Wysdom Tapiata-Harmer

Chante Harmer, 30, died on Monday, April 1, alongside two of her children in an Ashburton crash that tore her car in half. Harmer was described as a kind, caring and generous person who possessed the "biggest heart". She is survived by four children and her partner.

Two of her children, Te Awanuiarangi Shayelous-Jay Matenga Tapiata-Harmer, only 19 months old, and Wysdom Amara Francis Tony Jane Tapiata-Harmer, just eight months old, also died after the crash at the Mitcham and Hepburns Rds intersection.


Manepo Tapsell-Wafer

Maketū-born Manepo Tapsell-Wafer, 21, died instantly when his car and a van collided on the Te Puke Highway about 5.40pm on Tuesday, April 2. The van driver, a man in his 40s, was hospitalised with moderate injuries. Tapsell-Wafer's cousin Jade Lewis said he was ambitious and wanted to stamp his mark on the world. "But Manepo loved nothing better than socialising and chilling out with his friends and his family ..." To read more, click here.



This as yet unknown person died following a single-vehicle crash on Bainesse Rd, in Rangiotu, near Palmerston North about 8.10pm on Wednesday, April 3.


Quentin Te Rure

Napier's Quentin Robert Te Rure, 30, died after his car crashed into a bridge on State Highway 50 north of Tikokino in the Hastings area on Thursday, April 4. According to his obituary, he was laid to rest on April 9 with his mum at Western Hills Cemetery. "You will be sadly missed and forever loved," the notice read.

Macauley Arnott

Macauley, 13, fondly known as Mac, died after a crash that also claimed the life of his best mate's dad. The crash occurred near the intersection of State Highway 2 and Mara St, in Mangatainoka on April 4. Mac would have turned 14 on April 12. To read more, click here.

Kevin Hanks

Hanks was about to celebrate his 41st birthday on April 15, but died on April 4. He was an American who had made New Zealand his home. Together with wife Robyn and their four children, he lived in Woodville where Hanks was chairperson for the Woodville School Board of Trustees. To read more, click here.


Ezekiel Loua

Ezekiel Loua, 12, died alongside his uncle Fulumoa Daly on Friday, April 5, when a truck and car collided in Christchurch city. Ezekiel's mother said he was a really intelligent boy who got along with everyone. His hobbies included rugby, PlayStation and dancing. He had just moved to Auckland and was "really fitting in well" as a new Year 8 student at Otahuhu Intermediate. To read more, click here.

Fulumoa Daly

Daly, 35, died in the same crash that killed his young nephew, Ezekiel Loua. To read more, click here.

Blair Phelps

Blair Phelps died following a crash between a car and a motorbike on Cambridge Rd, in Rotoorangi, around 7am on April 5. The 42-year-old was from Mamaku.

Ann Rigg

Rigg died after a crash involving a car on SH6 in Nelson at 10am on April 5. Rigg was a hugely determined cyclist who inspired many others. Her devastated family and local community would be paying tribute to her memory with a service on April 11 that would conclude a last-lap bell. To read more, click here.