The father of a teenage girl killed in a horror Boxing Day car crash says he has forgiven the 14-year-old driver, and now wants to encourage other youngsters to make good choices in life.

Lily Francis Moore died alongside fellow 15-year-olds Samuel 'Sammy' James Drost and Cole Troy Hull when a car they were in crashed near Leeston in the early hours of December 26.

A police investigation into the triple-fatality is ongoing.

Today, Lily's father Marcus Moore paid tribute to a "bubbly, positive, loving person" who was excited about entering Year 11 at Rangi Ruru Girls' School in Christchurch this year.


"She had a beautiful smile that lit up a room. She was one of those vibrant kids. All kids are beautiful, but she was our daughter," he told the Herald.

Moore, wife Jo, and 17-year-old daughter Summer are devastated at the tragedy, "living in a haze" and taking things day by day.

They laid Lily to rest yesterday at an emotional funeral service.

Moore says when a local police officer turned up at his door in Prebbleton to the south of Christchurch in the early hours of Boxing Day, he thought that his youngest child was still asleep in bed.

But in fact, she had gone out in the night with friends. And never came home.

"I believed she was in bed. I went in, yelling out and didn't get a response, a voice back. I thought she was there. Normally, I'm a livewire ... I hear her," Moore said.

"I never want to live through a day like that again.

"She was a very loving, caring girl. She'd just done that wee sneaky ... that one silly choice of going out."

He says he has spent time and spoken with the young driver.

And he has "total forgiveness" for him.

"He's a good kid. He has to live with it for the rest of his life and we have to grieve for the rest of our lives."

Moore didn't want to comment more around what led to the crash until the full facts had been established through the police probe.

But he did want to stress that seatbelts can save lives.

"Lily has always put a seatbelt on. This particular night she didn't have one on. I don't know why, I can't answer that," he said.

"There's got to be something positive that comes out of it. It doesn't stop here. I plan for something in the future to at least try and prevent something like this happening again.

"Thinking safe, making the right decisions. Get it through their heads. It happens too much."

Nineteen people lost their lives on New Zealand roads over the Christmas and New Year period.

• Check out Friday's Herald for a special report on the faces of the road toll