The day before his father's tangi, Ashton-Lee Rangihuna dived for crayfish and paua with his uncle.
Now his uncle, Wimaki Rangihuna, is preparing for the 14-year-old's funeral. Two car crashes, on month apart.
Wimaki, 58, is devastated his whānau have been "wiped out". First his brother Lance, and now his nephew, niece and brother's partner.
Lance Rangihuna, 57. Ashton-Lee Rangihuna, 14. Ana-Roimata Rangihuna, 10. Tiny Tibble, 43. The roll-call represents people Wimaki held close.
"Our dad died in May during Covid and my older brother has severe mental health issues. It's only me and my partner Marley now. We are on our own."
Wimaki lives in Auckland. His brother and family lived in Te Araroa. This week the small coastal East Cape community was shrouded in a blanket of silence and sadness. For now, Wimaki wants to remember the deer hunting, and diving for paua and crayfish with his nephew.
"Ashton was into his hunting, diving, fishing. He was a tall, strapping young lad about six foot three [1.9m]. He's a big boy. The night before his father's funeral he went hunting, the next morning we got up there was a venison hanging. The young fella and [his sister] Ana were both gentle souls. Lance died about five weeks ago. Now I have to collect Tiny and the kids and bring them back home," Wimaki said.
"I miss everything about Lance. He was a laid-back fella. He made random phone calls and random visits. He would ring me up and order something for dinner. I'd say 'where are you?' He'd reply, 'I'll be there in two hours'."
On October 15, Lance Rangihuna was killed in a car crash on State Highway 35. This week, Lance's partner, Tiny, and her two children, Ashton-Lee and Ana-Roimata, died in a crash.
"Tiny and Lance were a great couple," says Wimaki. The couple had just purchased a lawn-mowing business and, he says, were popular among locals. "They were fantastic parents and raised awesome kids."
Wimaki, an Auckland bus driver, says losing his whānau is "huge".
"I don't wish this on anyone."
He believes Tiny was heartbroken after Lance's death, but says whānau were supporting her.
"We were trying to do the best that we can by texting and keeping in contact with her."
Adrienne Ngata, a first responder at the crash site, says she felt helpless she couldn't help the family when she was called out to the crash site on Monday.
"They were already gone. The mother and daughter were lying flat in the front seat but they looked peaceful. The boy was huddled over in the back seat."
"The impact on the town is horrendous - like any family you lose. I've been a first responder for 25 years but it doesn't make things easier," she said.
"Tiny was well-liked and a great mother."
Ngata said that in a community where everyone is considered whānau, the town of Te Araroa was in shock.
Patrick Tangaere, a principal at the Rangitukia primary school, was another first responder who attended the crash site.
"The front of the car was pushed right in and it was upside down. It is both sad and a tragedy. It's harder knowing the family involved."
Detective Sergeant Murray Hewson told the Weekend Herald: "We can't disclose anything at this stage. This tragedy is very raw in our community, we are trying to work out our support systems for everyone."
"It's too painful. I am still trying to get over my dad and my brother and this happens. I don't want to see it. I just keep carrying on," Wimaki said.
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