Former Rotorua residents Charles and Barbara Cloete are mourning the loss of their son Colin 10 years after their 17-year-old daughter Miemie died in a horrific car crash.

Colin Cloete had been living in Australia for some time and died suddenly this week. It is believed a pre-existing medical condition may have been the cause of death.

Family friend Arnya Holden, who was injured in the head-on crash on the Balclutha-Owaka Highway that claimed Miemie's life, said the Cloetes were flying to Australia this weekend to see their son and hopefully get some answers.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions so they're just in a hurry to be with Colin," Holden said.


"Charles and Barbara are absolutely devastated, they're doing what no parent should ever have to do and that is bury a child. But without realising it themselves, they're strong people and doing okay with the love and support of friends.

"I took my two little boys over to see them in Paeroa where they now live and they managed to smile at their antics."

She said a Givealittle page had been started to help the Cloetes get to Australia.

"We [friends] realised there was nothing that we could say or do to help with their pain, but we could try and help with their financial situation."

Initially the money was to organise passports and pay for flights but Holden is hoping additional money raised may help make life a little easier for the Cloetes.

"Barbara hasn't been well for some time so we just want to help them to look after themselves a little more as well as provide some assistance for Colin's funeral."

She said Colin and the Cloete family still had many friends in Rotorua.

Pantry d'Or manager Loren Cudd was one of them.


Colin Cloete worked at Pantry d'Or as a student. Cudd struggled to find the words to describe the loss of her long-time friend.

"Colin was so funny. Often inappropriately [like me] which is probably why we got on so well."

She said she, her cousin and Cloete were the Saturday crew at the bakery.

"He was also a very kind, loving and generous person who always made time for everyone he knew."

Cudd said his sister Miemie's death "rocked his world" but he was able to turn her death into a positive.

"When Miemie died Colin was living in Rotorua while their parents were living in Australia.

He travelled to Dunedin to be with his sister when she was in hospital and also brought her body back to Rotorua.

"Her death was extremely tough on him, they were very close, but he was a pillar of strength for family and friends."

Cloete also kept in touch with the recipients of his sister's organs that were donated after her death.

"I have always thought Colin was able to grasp the one positive thing to come from her death and cherish it," Cudd said.

She said Cloete trained as a mechanic after leaving school.

"He had struggled with diabetes all his life and became quite unwell last year. But I understood he had got on top of things and had gone back to work."

To donate to the Cloete family go to