A bus driver facing numerous charges over a deadly bus crash on Christmas Eve did not plea when he appeared in the Manukau District Court this morning.

Talakai Aholelei, 65, faces three charges of careless driving causing death and 27 of careless driving causing injury.

Aholelei was remanded without plea and is due to appear again next month.

Charges were laid last week.


The bus was carrying 54 people when it plunged down a 100m bank south of Gisborne on State Highway 2.

Sione Taumalolo, 11, and Talita Moimoi, 33, died at the scene.

Leotisia Malakai, 55, died eight days later.

They were part of a Tongan school brass band in New Zealand as part of a fundraising trip.