The teenager who died in a car crash on Te Puke Highway on Saturday night has been remembered as a loving and caring 17-year-old.

Halayna Chrystie Lee Pare Wagstaff was heading home from a party at around 10pm on Saturday with her partner Jason Anaru-Emery who was driving when they crashed on Waiari Bridge.

Anaru-Emery was taken to Tauranga Hospital with moderate injuries. He has since been discharged.

Halayna Wagstaff's father, Darren Wagstaff, has spoken to the Herald about his "angel" he will never forget.


"She was one of the most loving and caring girls you'll ever meet. As well as strong, determined and stubborn.

"My brother summed her up last night, when she walked in the room everyone smiled."

Wagstaff said he almost lost his daughter when she was born three months early.

"She only weighed 840g and she had to have a heart surgery as well. She was a fighter."

He said she will be remembered as the one who was there for everybody.

"If there was a problem, like if her cousin was playing up, she was the one who sorted him out. She was the inspiration to a lot of her friends."

Halayna leaves behind her sister and best friend Zeta, older brother Conan, sister Claudia, brother Terrence, brother Preston, brother Isaac and mother Jenai.

Zeta, 16, said her sister was a happy person who everyone loved.

"She always had a big smile on her face and she always brightened up the room. She was my best friend."

Halayna attended Mount Maunganui College before finishing last year.

Wagstaff said Halayna had been determined to join the navy after discovering that's what her granddad did.

"She wanted to follow in his footsteps. She did all the pre training but got refused and that really broke her."

Halayna will be brought to the family home tonight before being taken to the local marae.