A New Caledonian tourist has admitted killing a Hamilton woman in a crash near Hamilton last month.

Jeff Tau Viriamu, 43, reappeared in the Hamilton District Court this morning and pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of Alyisa Kelly, 27, and two charges of careless driving causing injury after the crash on State Highway 1 at Piarere, about 40km south of Hamilton, last month.

Viriamu, who doesn't speak a lot of English, and his partner Lydia Tong landed in New Zealand on August 18.

After staying with friends in Auckland for a few days, the couple set off to Taupo on August 23.


About 1.15pm they were travelling south on SH1 at Piarere when Viriamu's rental vehicle veered across the centre line.

Noticing the car coming towards them, Kelly's partner, Isaac Ohlin, pulled his car over to the left side of the road in attempt to try and avoid it.

However, he was hindered from driving any further left due to a large, grassy embankment.

Jeff Viriamu leaving the Hamilton District Court after his first appearance last month.
Jeff Viriamu leaving the Hamilton District Court after his first appearance last month.

The vehicles collided on the fog line with the full impact being taken by the passenger sides of both cars.

The force of the crash caused the victims' Toyota to roll and come to rest facing the way they had travelled from.

Kelly suffered unsurvivable injuries and died at the scene.

When questioned by officers at the scene, Viriamu said he didn't know he ended up on the wrong side of the road.

After looking at the file, police prosecutor Marc Hepworth informed community magistrate Ngaire Mascelle that Viriamu had told a firefighter at the scene that he may have briefly fallen asleep.

However, Viriamu's lawyer Tom Sutcliffe said his client disputed that and that's why it wasn't mentioned in the summary of facts read to the court.

Sutcliffe said his client remained of his original opinion that he didn't know why he veered across the road.

Tong remains in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit with multiple serious injuries.

Viriamu stays by her bedside.

Ohlin suffered two broken arms but was out of hospital in time for his fiancee's funeral.

Sutcliffe successfully sought to relax his client's bail conditions so he no longer has to report to Hamilton Central Police Station. The couple's passports have been confiscated.

Mascelle convicted Viriamu and directed a request for a restorative justice conference be put to the victims.

Kelly had been living in Sydney for four years and was holidaying in New Zealand with Ohlin. They had been on their way to Hamilton to have dinner with Kelly's grandmother Esther Kelly when the crash happened.

Viriamu was remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing in October.