The wife of a pedestrian killed in the Far North in the early hours of New Year's Day went to bed thinking he'd gone for a walk.

But when Robyn Rihari woke up later that morning and scrolled through Facebook, she found out he was dead.

Charlie Junior Rihari, 49, was hit by a car about 1am on January 1 as he walked along Kerikeri Inlet Rd near the intersection of Pa Rd.

Paramedics attempted to save him but his injuries were too severe and he died at the scene.


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Charlie Rihari had been at a family New Year party with his wife, children Alannah, Taryn and Liam, and other relatives.

To them he was a cherished husband, a loved father; a funny man with a great sense of humour and a positive outlook who they had a lot of fun with.

They never expected to start 2017 without him.

Alannah Rihari spoke to theHerald about her father's last hours.

"We had lots of family staying for Christmas and New Year and we went to a party at my nana's, it was a Hawaiian-themed party," she said.

"It was a really nice night."

Charlie Rihari went for a walk and his family went to bed, expecting him to be there when they woke up.

But that was not to be.

About 6am Robyn Rihari awoke and noticed her husband was not home.

She checked her phone and as she scrolled through her Facebook feed, she learned he had been killed.

Police had issued a press release appealing for information about a pedestrian who had been hit and killed earlier that morning, not far from where the family had celebrated New Year.

Inspector Riki Whiu said the victim was not carrying ID and police didn't know who he was.

When Robyn Rihari saw the description of the victim's clothes - black shorts, a Chiefs top and a greenstone pendant - she knew her husband was gone.

"She saw the police report and it fitted dad's description ... then grandad went and identified him," said Alannah Rihari.

The devastated family are planning Charlie Rihari's funeral on Friday at the Kerikeri RSA.

They want it to be a celebration of his life, rather than a service drenched in sadness.

"He was such a positive person," Alannah Rihari said.

"I can just imagine if he was here right now he'd be saying 'suck it up, don't cry about me, have a party for me instead of being sad'."

Charlie Rihari was born in Rotorua and grew up in Whangarei.

When he met his wife-to-be he moved to Kerikeri where they married, settled down and had three children.

"He was such a character, he was really funny," Alannah Rihari said.

"He was cheeky, he was such a positive person, a very humble person. He was never rude or anything."

He worked as a commercial painter but also helped with a family roofing company and had jobs in construction.

"Within our family he was a very loving person, he was a good dad."

Charlie Rihari played cricket, rugby and touch in his younger years and was a good table tennis player, his daughter said.

"He adored fishing, too," she said.

Police are still investigating his death.

He was the 16th person killed during the official holiday road toll period.

Nineteen people died on New Zealand roads during the official Christmas and New Year road toll period that ended at 6am today.

An hour after Charlie Rihari's death another pedestrian was struck and killed in the Far North.

Chloe Hope Hartigan, 17, died after she was hit by a car at Taipa.